Grading ALCS Game 1: Wild game, crushing loss

On Saturday night, the Yankees lost more than just the game. (Getty Images)

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NEW YORK -- From the high of yet another Raul Ibanez clutch bomb to the low of seeing their captain carried off the field, the Yankees endured a crushing loss in Game 1 of the ALCS ... 

Doug Fister: In the early innings, Fister was getting squeezed on his curve by home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, but he settled down, even after taking a hard-hit ball off his throwing wrist. He was at his best (and his breaking stuff was at its best) in the sixth when he made Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin look helpless with runners on base. His 6 1/3 scoreless frames didn't hold up thanks to Jose Valverde, but Fister more than did his job on Saturday night. 

Raul Ibanez entered Saturday night batting a fairly absurd .444/.500/1.111 for the 2012 postseason. And then he went out and went 2-for-5 with, yes, yet another ridiculously clutch bomb that seemed to rescue his teammates from mathematically certain defeat. It didn't hold up, but the blame doesn't fall to Ibanez. In the 2012 postseason, the unexpected is to be expected. Raul Ibanez is to be expected. 

Andy Pettitte. It wasn't a gem of an outing (6 2/3 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 5 K, 3 BB), but it wasn't bad. The veteran lefty gave his team a chance to win, but the Yankee bats didn't cooperate. If this seems too harsh, then think of it as a C+. 

Alex Rodriguez. The Yankee Stadium crowd started out on his side, cheering him lustily for his first AB of the game, but the reconciliation did not last. In the third inning, he grounded weakly into a double play, and his three-pitch strikeout in the sixth (with the tying runs on base) was painfully inept. On the night, the tail-spinning Rodriguez went 0-for-3 with six runners left on base. The narrative continues. The only thing that spares him from an "F" is ... 

Baseball without Derek Jeter. This has nothing to do with liking the Yankees or not liking the Yankees. This is about one of the game's most luminous stars being carried off the field during a playoff game. There's nothing good about baseball without Jeter, even if you wish nothing but ill upon the pinstripes. It's too bad the rest of the 2012 postseason will be without him. As fans, that's our loss. 

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