CC Sabathia giving up that 2R HR in the top of the 7th inning was inevitable. Given the way his season has gone to date, CC was going to give up more than one run. It was just a matter of when, how many and whether the Yankees could counter. Even watching Sabathia throw 4 perfect innings with four strikeouts and a low pitch count, you just knew that his “one bad inning” was going to happen.
As it turned out, Sabathia wound up giving up 4 ERs across 6.2 IP and, as he has so many times in 2015, left the mound on the losing end of the ballgame.
Despite that ugly line and that unfortunate fact, the Yankees ace of yesteryear deserved the applause he received from his hometown fans on Tuesday evening.
Sabathia will never be the ace he once was but he has put together three decent back to back starts, especially relative to his first half. His monthly ERA has dropped, albeit in small increments, each month since April, and he has shown better velocity as the summer has worn on. Perhaps most importantly, and the real reason he deserved the applause on Tuesday, is that he has consistently given the Yankees innings. Sabathia has not missed a start this season and has thrown the most IP of any starter on the team.
In the midst of 16 straight games and the night after the Yankees lost Bryan Mitchell the 2nd inning due to a scary comebacker that sent the young pitcher to the DL, Sabathia was there to take some innings off the overworked bullpen. Sure, 6.2 IP is a far cry from a day off for the bullpen and well down from the routine 7 or 8 IP he used to give in his prime, but an extra 1.2 IP by the starter is that fewer IP by the bullpen.
With Joe Girardi managing each game like it’s the Wild Card play in the bullpen, Dellin Betances in particular, might start wondering if Girardi is channeling Joe Torre. As Scott Proctor, Paul Quantrill and even Tanyon Sturtze can attest, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Betances wasn’t coming into Tuesday night’s game no matter what; not given his 2.1 IP in Monday night’s game. Still, Sabathia saved Chasen Shreve, Adam Warren and (thankfully) Chris Capuano from having to get into the game before the Yankees offense erupted for seven runs.
Sabathia showed flashes of brilliance in Tuesday’s game, providing some hope that he can be a real factor down the stretch. He had his one blip that, thankfully, didn’t hurt the Yankees since the offense, highlighted by Alex Rodriguez's 25th career grand slam, decided to show up in the final two innings. He undeniably contributed to the Yankees come from behind 8-4 win even if the numbers don’t look so great by themselves.
As the season starts to wind down to its final 30 games, that’s worthy of some applause.