In today’s start, it wasn’t pretty for C.C. Sabathia. In fact, he said after the game that he “sucked.” Joe Girardi and Brian McCann both didn’t think he was that bad today and when Girardi looked over he said CC was hitting 88 MPH on the gun, slower than his fastball last year which averaged 91 MPH last year, still slower than his entire career. Is it time to worry about CC?
For now I’m going to say no. Remember, last season he couldn’t train the way he wanted to recovering from off-season surgery. CC walked more guys then ever and couldn’t get the fastball past guys like he used to, because you really can’t at 91. CC’s working on a cutter thanks to Andy Pettitte, though that’s a work in progress. He also walked two guys after walking 65 guys last year, which is the most since 2010. If he can drop the walk totals down that will help as well this season.
His diminished velocity is a concern, however, many pitchers, including Pettitte were able to still be effective when their velocity dropped as they got older. It’s about working on those secondary pitchers and using your veteran knowledge to help get guys out. CC had his lowest ground ball percentage since 2009 at 44.7% He’s usually up near 47 or 48%. He’s gotta keep the ball down and get more groundballs and that should make him more effective, even with reduced velocity.
Maybe I’m giving CC too much leeway. Maybe he will fall apart and last season was the beginning of the end for CC and his contract will turn into an albatross like many other long-term deals the Yankees have had. I can’t panic about him quite yet. Not while he’s working on new things. Not when it’s March 11.