With the New York Yankees entering their most pivotal stretch, they have gotten everything they could ask for out of CC Sabathia.
Coming off a year in which he pitched to a 4.73 ERA and a confrontation with alcoholism, he has shown the ability to not only make it by with his diminished arsenal but to still be that stopper he was back in his prime.
On Tuesday night, after New York dropped game one to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sabathia was asked to halt the losing streak at two and guide the Yankees back on track to their improbable playoff run.
Sabathia held the Dodgers’ lineup to no runs on three hits and struck out seven while walking just one for his eighth win on the season.
Dellin Betances then came in to slam the door shut with four-out save preserving a beautiful start by Sabathia, a win for Warren, and an uplifting win for the New York Yankees.
With that, New York is two games out of the second American League Wild Card spot with 18 games remaining in the season.
“We need to win pretty much every game. That just comes with the territory of being in a playoff race. No extra pressure, I just go out and do my job,” Sabathia told Newsday. “This is 16 seasons for me, so it’s just natural now to go out and worry about what you need to focus on and try to get us a win.”
Recently, the Yankees’ 36-year old fifth starter has done everything in his power to do exactly that: focus on and try to get a win.
Over his last five starts, he has maintained a 2.40 ERA, has struck out 27 batters compared to six walks, and has held the opposition to a mere .225/.271/.405 slash line.
His stretch of dominance began on August 23, and since then, the Yankees own a 14-6 record which is good enough for the second-best record in all of major league baseball. Additionally, they have surrendered the second-fewest runs in the AL.
What Sabathia has shown his team is that there is more to a tight playoff run than impactful youngsters powering the engine. Right now, the old guard is using his experience of being “here” before and has helped manage a rotation that falls flat after Masahiro Tanaka.
No, it’s not a fresh Maserati that Luis Severino was a year ago, but maybe all the Yankees need to help drive them to their second postseason in a row is a horse and carriage.
Or maybe a wrestler willing to put up a fight…
— Sir Didi Gregorius (@DidiG18) September 14, 2016
Christian Kouroupakis covers the New York Yankees for ESNY. Interact with him and view his daily work by “liking” his facebook page and follow him on Twitter. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Don’t hesitate to shoot him an email with any questions, criticisms, or concerns.