Although the odds of winning the ALDS seem bleak, the New York Yankees have the perfect show-stopper to turn things around.
New York Yankees ace Luis Severino turned in a dud in the Wild Card Game and the acquired Sonny Gray lasted just 3.1 innings in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. What manager Joe Girardi has received from his starters has been the opposite of ideal.
It actually marked the second time in Yankees’ history that their starters in the first two postseason contest failed to go four innings. The first time happened back in 1956 when Whitey Ford and Don Larsen failed to complete four innings.
For Game 2 of the ALDS, Girardi turns to a guy he has trusted in this position before and a guy he hopes will continue to play his role as a show-stopper. 37-year-old left-hander CC Sabathia will get the nod.
Yes, in the season full of Baby Bomber success stories like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino, the Yankees’ 2017 hopes have been placed in the hands of a 17-year veteran who has pitched in 3,317 innings dating back to 2001.
And guess what? Sabathia is the perfect candidate for this assignment.
In the regular season, he went 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA — his best performance since his 2012 All-Star campaign — and started 27 games. The more important statistic to keep an eye on, however, is his 9-0 record with a 1.71 ERA in 10 starts following a Yankees loss this year.
Confidence in Sabathia goes beyond his ability to pick up his teammates, however. He has appeared in 19 postseason games (18 starts) and has done his fair share of carrying postseason Yankee teams. He is an overall 9-5 with a 4.53 ERA, but tasted long stretches of success before. In 2009, he went 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts. Overall, his teams are 12-6 when he starts a playoff game.
The last time the Yankees turned to Sabathia in a “must-win” division series game was the last time they were in the division series. New York received a complete game from their workhorse against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 5 to advance to the ALCS.
He’s been there, done that. With a ton of experience at Progressive Field, Sabathia will be able to drown out the crowd hungry for their first championship since 1948 and be the leader that sparks some life into the Yankees, who are desperate to leave Cleveland with at least one win.
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Technically speaking, this game isn’t a must-win. The Yankees won’t be eliminated by falling down 2-0. Yet, A loss tonight means they’d have to go 3-0 versus Carlos Carasco, Josh Tomlin, and Corey Kluber. Friday’s Game 2 feels just like an elimination game.