By the time you read this, the bottom-feeding rags that some call news sources will have started a feeding frenzy on CC Sabathia dropping the F-bomb after another poor spring outing. Granted, he had just walked off the field from a minor league game where he gave up 4 runs in five innings. He gave up two home runs, to bring his spring total up to 5 over 9 2/3 innings. It’s not pretty.
Some reporters have observed that CC doesn't seem to be too upset about it. I think that’s naïve. He’s been the ace of the staff since he signed in 2009, with one World Series win under his belt. He is coming off consecutive seasons where his performance was down and time on the DL was up, and probably looking to reestablish himself as the anchor of the staff. So he goes out in his first start of the spring and gives up 2 runs in 2 innings. Nothing too crazy to worry about. Then, in a game against the Mets that got a lot of fan attention – as if the game mattered – he gives up a leadoff home run, followed by two more home runs, and leaves the game with an 11.57 ERA for the spring.
Then the off-the-field movements start. Masahiro Tanaka – deservedly – is named the Opening Day starter. In one felled swoop, he loses the title of Ace and Opening Day starter for the first time in his Yankee tenure. That could not have been easy to swallow. To his credit, he’s kept his chin up.
One could understand why he would be upset. Let’s be realistic about this. He is coming off a serious injury, and his primary concern has to be his health, strength, and durability. So maybe he is just focusing on his velocity, and the strength of the movement on his pitches. By all accounts, those indications look good. Brian McCann, who caught Sabathia on Saturday, confirmed that he looked strong all 5 innings. His velocity topped out in the low 90’s, which is good for this point in the spring. It’s especially good for someone coming off an injury to do so and feel good. Top it off with 7 strikeouts and only 2 walks in those 5 innings, and it should have been a good day. Giving up a pair of home runs tends to dampen things.
Listen, I’m not saying that there isn't reason to be concerned about CC. The Yankees owe a lot of their winning over the last 6 years to him. When he has faltered, the Yankees have faltered. When he has succeeded, the Yankees have done well. The Yankees and their fans owe him their loyalty for that. So when a reporter presses him after having gone through everything I listed above, he may say that he doesn't give a f—k what people put stock in. Give him a break. I, for one, give him my sympathy and support. As his legs get stronger, I would like to see him get to that place where his ERA is in the low 3’s and he’s putting 18-20 wins up for the season. Whatever happens, we’re pulling for him.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store! Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook! Also, don't forget to check out the BYB Hub!