In post-game comments, CC Sabathia seemed frustrated and disappointed in his performance after the New York Yankees 8-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. The loss pushed his record to 4-4 with an earned run average of 3.96 for this season.
So why should his struggles not cause Yankees’ fans concern? What indications are there that Sabathia will work it out and return to his dominant self?
The reasons are simple. There are winners and losers. Sabathia is a winner.
Winners don’t make excuses. When he was asked about his physical condition, he said that he felt fine, refusing to attribute his performance to any pain he might have felt in his pitching
Winners put the team first. “I’m hurting the team,” he said. “I’m not helping the team out. I just need to get better.”
He identified his biggest disappointment as his inability to give his teammates a chance to get the victory. Throughout his career, even in games when he has not had his best “stuff,” he has had a knack for keeping his team in the game. That is why the Yankees three run ninth-inning could have stung him the most.
Manager Joe Girardi kept his faith in Sabathia. He pointed out that he is too talented not to find a way to work it out. Girardi spoke with the demeanor of a man who has seen his player bounce back before.
Perhaps Sabathia could benefit from analyzing the performance and mechanics of his opponent, Rays pitcher Alex Cobb. Cobb mastered the Yankees, giving up only five hits and two earned runs in 8.1 innings. Cobb’s biggest success was perhaps Sabathia’s biggest shortcoming of the day, his ability to consistently command his pitches.
Cobb, like Sabathia, utilizes a high leg kick. His motion allows him to hide the ball from batters, which Sabathia has also done well throughout his career. Even if the similarities end there, the fact remains that Cobb, with a 6-2 record and a 2.66 ERA in 2013, is pitching as Sabathia can and should.
Whatever it takes for him to get back, he will find the way. That is what winners do.