This past Sunday I was in attendance at US Cellular Field in Chicago as the Yankees pounded the White Sox to take the rubber game of that series 12-3. There is a lot more to observe when seeing a game in person. Or, as Yogi would say "You can observe a lot just by watching" One observation was the pre-game stroll to the bullpen by a group that included Dellin Betances and CC Sabathia.
If only it were true, but it's not. Despite his stroll to the pen pre-game on Sunday, Sabathia remains firmly entrenched in the Yankees rotation. His next start was last night in another rubber game of another series, this time against the last place Red Sox in the Bronx. You might have missed this tidbit, that Sabathia is now the team leader in innings pitched with 123 and with the injury to Michael Pineda (118 innings). only Nathan Eovaldi (117 1/3 innings) can now keep pace with Sabathia this season in the innings pitched category. It has been said Sabathia is valuable to the Yankees because he eats up innings, sparing the rest of the staff.
But is that good strategy? Last night, the answer was, surprisingly, yes. Or maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Maybe we waited all year for this night, Sabathia was dealing. Six innings, three hits, one run with three walks and eight strikeouts. The only time Sabathia got in trouble was in the 5th with the bases loaded and two out. Reaching back for something extra, he then struck out Big Papi on a 94 mph fastball. The damage was limited to one run that inning, the only run surrendered by CC. Maybe he can stay in the rotation after all.
As for the Yankees, they struggled to get early runs for the third straight night. Tuesday they scored late, in bunches. Wednesday they only scored the one run in Luis Severino's impressive, but losing debut. Thursday they scored only 2 runs, good enough for a 2-1 win and a series win over Boston. Jacoby Ellsbury who has five home runs all year has two already this week. Ellsbury has more home runs (2) than stolen bases (0) since returning from the disabled list last month.
But the night belonged to CC Sabathia, who did not get a decision, which matters little. What matters is that, for one night at least, we saw some of the CC of old, fist pump and all. Keep it going, big guy. I'm more than happy to eat my words from a week ago.
Let's hope the CC of old is here until at least October, November if need be.