Yankees C.C. Sabathia should worry less about next year
Winless since July 4, C.C. Sabathia has been shaky at best in his last four outings for the Yankees, allowing 13 earned runs and a 16:11 K:BB ratio in only 18.1 innings pitched.
For far too long, the Yankees have relied upon 38-year-old C.C. Sabathia to be their stopper. All that changed in Thursday night’s 15-7 debacle to the Red Sox.
Since the start of last season, Sabathia was 12-0 with a 2.72 ERA in 20 starts following a Yankee loss. And although the 18-year veteran battled the elements, a raucous Boston crowd and the hottest offense in baseball, Sabathia has never been one to make excuses.
After all, coming into the game, Sabathia was 6-0 with 1.83 ERA in his previous seven starts vs. Boston.
However, with erratic command, Sabathia threw 77 pitches in three frames (his shortest outing of the season) while allowing three hits, a home run, four walks and two punch-outs. This included a 36-pitch second inning that saw the game begin to unravel.
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Yes, the bullpen only made things worse, and manager Aaron Boone deserves a lot of blame for keeping Jonathan Holder in long enough to allowing five hits and seven runs without recording an out. However, when the offense gifts you an early four-run lead, the starting pitcher, whoever it is, needs to hold the line.
While some will be quick to merely chalk it up as a poor night for the likely Hall of Fame-bound Sabathia, the proof is in the pudding — the Yankees can no longer depend on mighty C.C. as their stopper.
And at this stage in his career, having reinvented himself from a top of the rotation power pitcher to a finesse backend marksman, Sabathia deserves better.
This is on the Yankees. Yes, they acquired J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn at the non-waiver deadline. But at 35 and 31, respectively — both set to hit free agency at season’s end (Sabathia included), this is an all or nothing, now or never type of rotation.
Much of the disparaging light has been focused on Sonny Gray because he’s been downright awful for the majority of his time in the Bronx — even staff ace Luis Severino is winless since July, 7.
Aside from Happ’s first win in pinstripes last weekend and Masahiro Tanaka going 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 50:11 K:BB ratio in his previous 42 innings, there hasn’t been much to get excited about regarding Yankee starting pitchers.
Which is why, as a fan, I implore C.C. Sabathia to stop talking about next year and focus solely on the one we’re in. It’s great that he’s still passionate about the game, but looking ahead is dangerous.
On the latest episode of the wildly entertaining podcast, R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED, at the 29:58-mark, Sabathia again took the liberty of exclaiming, “Yeah, I want to play next year, in my mind, I’m committed.”
With the Yankees now 6.5 games back of the Sox for first place in the AL East, and 5.5 games up in the Wild Card standings, a lot can change, should the Bombers suffer an early exit from the Postseason (or worse, miss it altogether).
Re-signing both Sabathia and Happ in 2019 seems like a longshot at best, especially with Justus Sheffield and Jonathan Loaisiga chomping at the bit, and free-agent-to-be Patrick Corbin already expressing an interest in potentially joining the Yanks.
Leave it all out on the mound, C.C. — and let’s worry about next year after the completion of this one.