CC Sabathia working on three days rest in the playoffs isn’t something out of the ordinary. Yeah, his September load was lessened and most likely prohibited the Yankees ace from winning 20 games (and winning the Cy Young award for the second time), but nonetheless, this was as notable a postseason pitching achievement as we have seen in recent memory.
Sabathia has won three of the Yankees seven games and has allowed a mere one run in each to edge closer to the franchise standard (Whitey Ford) of four consecutive postseason outings allowing one run or less.
It would be irrational to overstate what he means to the Yankees and baseball (the lack of Black pitchers) in general, but the added pressure of rocking the Yankee pinstripes puts a historic perspective on his physically compelling presence in the Bronx.
When he signed for 161 million this past off season and fulfilled a dream, the entire sports world wondered what would come of a pitcher known for his endurance, but also lacking true postseason success. He wants the responsibility and is very confident of being a 200 inning workhorse…helping bullpens rest while others are being overworked during the dog days of summer but…
Was he truly worth it?
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
After all, the Yankees haven’t won anything of merit since the onset of the millennium and most critics quipped a signing of this nature spelled inevitable doom for a franchise transitioning from Yankee iron fist successful past to Yankee almost desperate do what you have to do present.
It’s realistic to think Sabathia’s signing added a sense of cool to the New York clubhouse boiling in controversy from Rodriguez’s off season performance enhancing drugs revelation.
It was a true Yankee media circus. There were soundbites, books, false accusations and no guarantees of championship success.
CC came in, did the basketball tour thing rockin’ the New York fitted, gave Yankee captain Derek Jeter a helping hand and implored his teammates to show up and genuinely support ARod when the hot was hottest.
Remember Jeter’s matter of fact response in Florida? It had its intended effect and so did the larger than life presence of CC.
Yeah, yeah, the galvanizing cliche rears its sports landscape head, but in this instance, it truly helped. While the Yankees didn’t blast out of the box and CC was his usual sluggish early season self, the Bronx monster was marinating in the thoughts and dreams of every tried and true Yankee fan across the land.
He took the pressure off of ARod. Period. Think about it.
Its also no secret the Yankees give CC run support…as evidenced by a 10-1 Game 4 score that put New York up 3-1 on the Anaheim Angels.
This is what Sabathia told Newsday of his rather dubious past postseason appearances: “I think maybe just trying to go out and do too much,” Sabathia said of his 2-3 record and 7.92 ERA in five career postseason appearances. “Trying to go out and throw shutouts and throw no-hitters and things like that instead of going out and doing the same things I’ve done in the regular season – which is . . . throwing strikes early in the game and pounding the strike zone on both sides of the plate, and going out and putting up zeroes and letting the team score some runs.”
Spoken like a true champ. Fans of Cleveland and Milwaukee have to acknowledge CC was being overworked the past couple of years mainly because their respective teams were in the midst of making it to the playoffs.
Whether he tells you so or not, CC was tired.
(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
What an off season!
When Alex Rodriguez returned from wrist surgery, the aftermath of what transpired during the summer had taken its course in relative anonymity (because he was out so long). But…this was New York and many baseball writers in America thought aloud there was no way this season would end with the Yankees winning it all. It was just too much pressure and comparative team upheaval.
Singularly, ARod was too fickle. His personal life was out of sorts. He was too much of a yes man to stand on the relentless conviction his big bad bat wielded. He was all about pleasing everybody instead of opposing the game’s history.
Kurt and Goldie’s daughter beckoned…
After all, this is Jeter’s team, so maybe Alex thought this was the year to fade into just being an All Star and not some 33 million dollar super human iconic Yankee stud.
Before the season began…
The Yankees were the consensus pick…they always are…but the Red Sox were the new Yankees and with upstart Tampa Bay coming off a World Series appearance and Cito Gaston once again captaining Toronto’s ship, one had to wonder if a monumental crash of Ruthian proportions was in store for New York and its damn near 700 trillion payroll.
Did fans consider Alex a true Yankee based on his much maligned postseason efforts? Despite his gaudy major league statistical resume, he was being called double play Rod and was subjected to Yankee Stadium jeers that seemed to drown the cheers out just enough to play with his seemingly insecure mind.
How would he respond? He struggled to regain his timing after returning from rehabbing his wrist.
The Yankees struggled as well and the Red Sox ran an 8-0 record vs. their primeval rivals. To compound things a bit, the other big bucks New York signing, Mark Teixeira, seemed to be in over his head.
When Alex regained his stride, the Bomber bats exploded and set their sights on winning the American League pennant like they’ve done so many times in the not too distant past. Teixera seemed to find a comfort level and began jackin’ rockets over porches both home and away.
They won 100 plus games again.
It’s funny how this team is made up, yet and still they had something to postseason prove despite Joe Giraldi’s relative inexperience and overall New York uncertainty.
This is a team from top to bottom and with arguably the best pitcher of all time closing, how are the Yankees going to be stopped?
So we are here…now and the Yankees are up 3-1 against who most thought were the second best team left in these playoffs before the series began.
Regarding ARod, there are the names of Gehrig and Jackson being bandied about. Records are falling as the Yankees are once again learning the mystique only Bronx relative. There is no other franchise in sports so prominent, so resilient and so hell bent on staying on top.
Will ARod’s torrid hitting continue? If the inevitable happens and the Ryan Howard comparisons begin (they both hold the MLB record with rbi’s in 8 straight postseason games), how will Alex Rodriguez respond? Will CC be the reticent, cheerful yet professional horse steadying this proud franchise on the way to regaining what once was? If the Yankees get back to the Fall Classic…and it appears they will…they most likely will play the Phillies and this might be the most watched World Series in a long time.
In the present…
The two opposite superstar bookends of the spectrum lead a new Yankee juggernaut back to the edge of the throne.
Children of all ages get ready to witness history and judging by the way the Yankees and Phillies are going, this might become an annual affair. Wouldn’t we all be lucky?
See you in October Mr. Jackson. By the way, what do you think about the big Roctober #6?