CC Sabathia. What else is there to say?
On an afternoon in which James Shields was just as good, matching zero for zero, Sabathia got the better of his fellow AL East ace, hurling a 1-0 complete game shutout with nine strikeouts to secure the series victory against Tampa Bay and send the Yankees into the All-Star break on an important winning note.
Not to take anything away from Shields, who was the hard-luck loser in pitching eight innings of one-unearned-run ball, but Sabathia’s performance was incredible for so many different reasons:
- It was the big man’s first nine-inning complete-game shutout since May 8, 2009, at Camden Yards. Believe it or not, Sabathia never threw a nine-inning game in 2010 — his longest outing was 8 2/3 innings against the Royals on August 12.
- At 87, it represented the best Game Score by a Yankee pitcher this season. Bartolo Colon‘s May 30 shutout at Oakland is the second-highest.
- Sabathia’s .791 WPA for this game was the second-best individual mark by a pitcher in all of MLB this season, behind only Francisco Liriano‘s no-hitter. (h/t @jordansmed, @rebexarama @richardiurilli @Cephster and @firstheart42).
- It was the Yankees’ 4th team shutout of the season, and second complete-game shutout.
- Sabathia now has a 23-inning scoreless streak going (h/t Professor Longnose).
- Sabathia became the first Yankee pitcher to throw a 1-0 complete game shutout at Yankee Stadium since Tommy John (h/t T.O. Chris). If anyone out there with a B-Ref Play Index subscription knows the exact date, please leave it in the comments.
- It secured the team’s eighth series win in their last nine. The Yankees have gone 20-8 since being swept by the Red Sox in early June.
The win sends the Yankees into the All-Star break with a 53-35 record, a game behind Boston, who thoroughly dismantled the utterly pathetic Orioles over the weekend. For comparison’s sake, last season the Yankees were 56-32 at the All-Star break, in first place by two games, and in 2009 they were 51-37, in second place and three games out of first and coming off a demoralizing sweep by the Angels. Of course, in 2009 the Yankees stormed out of the break and rode an eight-game win streak into first place and never looked back. With only one game separating the Yanks and Sox heading into the break, this year’s second half should be even more exciting, if that’s possible.
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