Yankees: We have no further questions, your honor, the defense rests.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees went on the road last night and won a game against a team they were expected to beat. But this was one of those games where the box score barely scratches the surface of conveying the drama behind the scenes.

The Yankees starting pitching rotation was recently beaten up and left for dead on the side of the road by a bunch of bandits from Texas. According to most of the New York media,  one of those starters took the brunt of the beating even though he didn’t pitch in the weekend series.

The starter under investigation is CC Sabathia, who before last night, had not pitched a quality start (six or more innings giving up three or fewer runs) in a month. He looked as shaky on the mound as his wobbly knees with an arm that most said was eroded from having faced 13,409 batters over his seventeen-year career.

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Wrap him up, put a nice bow on the box, and toss him out.

The only problem, of course, is that games and careers are decided on the field and not on the back pages of newspapers or by the talking heads at ESPN.

The witness can be excused, your honor

Sabathia had a nice game last night in a 7-1 win against the Kansas City Royals. 6.2 innings, five hits, no runs reads his line. Was it a dominant performance? No, in fact, all he did was his job, which is provide length in a game to preserve the bullpen and give his team a chance to win.

Did he have his best stuff? No, because Sabathia doesn’t have “best stuff” anymore. He’s a thinking man’s pitcher now who doesn’t “wow” anyone, he just gets hitters out. He’s what is labeled now, a finesse pitcher, which is a nice term for what they used to call a “junkball artist.”

Major league ballplayers, at least the lucky ones, learn how to live with failure.

And Sabathia certainly wasn’t glamorous in the first inning when two screaming line drives were caught for outs, one of which knocked his third baseman, Chase Headley, flat on his butt. Nor were the four strikeouts he recorded in the game very glamorous either. But, the Yankees won, and CC recorded win number 225 for his career. The defense rests.

One game does not a season make. Just like the two or three consecutive faulty starts, Sabathia had before last night do not make a season. Baseball seasons are sublime and cerebral, just like the game itself.

Seasons are made of intertwining patterns that burst forth in short intervals. Seasons develop over time and the grueling length of six months and 162 games. There are ups and downs. And in a game where the best hitters fail seven out of every ten times they come to the plate, major league ballplayers, at least the lucky ones, learn how to live with failure.

Sabathia has seen it all. And he’s the go-to guy in the clubhouse for that reason. He took it upon himself last night to silence his critics. But really, all he managed to do is turn down the volume a bit. Because in five days he has to go out there and do it all over again – or else!

That’s baseball. And no one knows that better than CC Sabathia.