It seemed unlikely the Yankees would lose three consecutive games with any of their pitchers toeing the mound on Tuesday, but it was least likely with CC Sabathia on the mound. CC demonstrated the he remains firmly in beast mode with a dominating performance against the Indians. CC lasted seven innings on 100 pitches, giving up five hits, no runs, only two walks and striking out eleven, his second consecutive start with more than ten strike outs.
To call CC’s stuff dominating would be an understatement. This was as strong a start as he’s given the Yankees this season. If the Bombers weren’t putting runs on the board at will Sabathia easily would have come out for the eighth inning.
Through seven innings Sabathia had complete command of all his pitches. The radar gun at Progressive Field (which may be jacked — who knows?) routinely clocked CC’s fastball at 97 mph. He was putting his fastball, changeup and slider wherever he wanted them. The Indians left handed hitters were particularly helpless against him. Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore combined to strike out nine times.
Carlos Carrasco was every bit as bad as CC was good. He pitched just four innings on 93 pitches. He gave up six runs, ten hits, three walks and two homers (both to Curtis Granderson, who is so hot right now they were hosing him off in the dug out). Carrasco’s worst inning was the second, when the Yankees tagged him for five runs. Given the way CC was pitching, the game was pretty much over at that point.
While CC was embarrassing the Indians on the mound, the Yankee bats were pounding them at the plate. The Yankees scored nine runs on seventeen hits tonight. Granderson was the star of the evening with the lumber. He had two booming homers and three hits in total, knocking in three runs. Robinson Cano also had an impressive evening, with two doubles (although one of them just as easily could have been ruled an Orlando Cabrera error). Derek Jeter also had a big night, with an infield single in the first and a legit two run double in the second. In total, this was one of the Yankees’ most balanced offensive games of the year. Every single starter got at least two hits except for Francisco Cervelli who had none (figures).
Throughout the broadcast Michael Kay constantly questioned why Sabathia was left off the All-Star steam when he will have at least twelve wins, and possibly thirteen, heading into the break. Wins are completely, and totally meaningless, so let me take a moment to explain why it is travesty that Sabathia is not on the team, using stats that actually matter. After Tuesday’s win CC’s ERA now stands at 2.90, which would be his best since joining the Yankees, and is an impressive feat in the AL East, while his WHIP is 1.20. Coming into last night’s start CC had 3.9 fWAR, which puts him third in all of baseball — not just the American League. He had a 2.67 FIP entering the game and was fourth in all of baseball in innings pitched, with 129.2. It is obvious that Sabathia is one of the best three or four pitchers in the game right now. If anyone other than Ron Washington were picking the players, CC’s omission would shock me, but nothing Washington does shocks me anymore because I’ve been certain he doesn’t know what he’s doing for a while now.
Wednesday’s game is an important one in Yankee land. Phil Hughes makes his first start since going on the DL earlier this year. If Hughes can give the Yankees anything resembling his total season line from last year then his return would have a similar impact to a mid-season trade for a better than average starter and an improvement on Ivan Nova (albeit it a marginal one). In the event Hughes can’t regain form, it would certainly represent a huge loss for the team because of how important young pitchers are, but Nova has been strong enough a starter to give the Yankees some breathing room if Phil struggles.
The Indians will counter with Justin Masterson. The game begins at 7:05 pm. On a final, unrelated note, the Red Sox got some bad news. Jon Lester left his start last night with a strained lat and is expected to miss at least two weeks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Injuries are part of sports. In a close race for first place anything bad for the Sox is good for the Yankees.
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