After owning the American League East from April through July, a lot has gone wrong for the Yankees from August onward. The team compensated for CC Sabathia’s struggles by finding ways to win. Resurgent performances from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, with outstanding clutch hitting from Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury kept the Yankees as one of the more dangerous teams in the American League. Until they became mortal again.
Now it looks like CC Sabathia is having a resurgence of his own. Three starts after his return from the DL, he is looking dominant. Three starts after leaving a game with inflammation in his right knee and landing on the 15 day DL. Three starts after Joe Girardi said there was no timetable on when CC would return and many thought his season was over. Three starts after many well-meaning fans – myself included – suggested that if he made it back he should consider pitching out of the bullpen.
A Dale Carnegie quote says, “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”. Well, today is the tomorrow that we thought we would be without CC Sabathia, and look how far we have come. Since his return, he has notched two wins in two quality starts out of three, holding opposing batters to a .190 batting and sporting a K/9 of 9.15. Even with the knee brace, he is averaging 107 pitches per start, and that is after his manager-limited 85-pitch performance on his first night back.
When the Yankees first signed CC Sabathia, they immediately crowned him the ace of the starting rotation. In his first season, he led the Yankees to a World Series championship I n9 years. They signed him to an 8-year deal with the hopes of having a #1 or #2 starter for close to a decade. It was supposed to give them a chance to be perennial competitors for a World Series. That has always been the Yankees vision. You cannot do that without an ace. The Yankees cannot do that without CC Sabathia.
Now he is on a roll, right when we are in dire straits. You have to admire his determination. There has been a lot of talk about how he was made of glass. Right now, he has bone-on-bone arthritis in his knee, so he plays with a brace that lets his pitch without pain. He was asked this week if he‘d need knee-replacement surgery. "Eventually, but that's the price you pay." I have news for you. Not everyone signs up to pay that price. It is a good thing he has that mindset, because we desperately need him over the next few weeks.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
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