CC being CC: Yankees’ Sabathia has tapped into his old self during playoffs

2021年9月27日 by 没有评论

Baseball null null null NEW YORK — CC Sabathia was just being CC Sabathia on Monday night.That was the explanation the veteran pitcher provided when asked whether he said something to Josh Reddick after the Houston outfielder slammed his helmet down in disgust after making out to end the sixth inning during the Yankees’ 8-1 win in Game 3. Sabathia appeared unappreciative of the gesture. Prone to NSFW trash talking from time to time, the left-hander shouted a mouthful in what looked to be Reddick’s direction.   “That was just me being me, man,” Sabathia said after the game, amused by the observation. Really, though, Game 3 of the ALCS was about Sabathia being himself — his old self — on the mound. He doesn’t throw in the high 90s anymore and it’s been years since he’s gone the distance, but Monday night was as vintage as it gets for the 37-year-old.With New York down 2-0 in the series and in desperate need of a win at home, Sabathia blanked baseball’s most lethal lineup. He went six strong, allowing three hits while striking out five. He issued four walks, but Sabathia gave the Yankees everything he had, hurling 99 pitches — just short of his season-high.MORE: Todd Frazier is latest Yankees third baseman to earn playoff pinstripesAfter 18 previous starts, it was his first scoreless outing in the postseason.“It's weird. Me being 37, smoke and mirrors, getting a shutout,” Sabathia said, more laughter ensuing.But Sabathia has been dominant all October, having now allowed a total of four earned runs in 15.2 innings while striking out 19 over three starts. He’s not the ace he once was, but time after time he’s breathed new life into the Yankees.“He's a bulldog. It's one of those things. Look

at the size of him. And he looks like a bear out there on the mound, just ready to pounce on somebody. He has that going for him. And he hits his spots,” said Todd Frazier, who hit a home run in the win. “He's made for this, for sure.”The truth is, it took some time for Sabathia to become the pitcher he is now.Once a fireballing, perennial Cy Young contender, he struggled mightily when his stuff began to diminish while also battling knee issues. From 2013 to 2015, Sabathia was a shell of his former — and current — self, posting a losing record with a 4.81 ERA and 1.402 WHIP.He improved in 2016, though, his knee in healthier shape and an alcohol problem under control. He put up a 3.91 ERA in 179.2 innings, his best marks in years. In 2017, however, he was even better.With free agency pending, Sabathia stayed healthy for 27 starts, going 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA and 1.319 WHIP in 148.2 innings. He looked dominant down the stretch prior to his postseason run and reclaimed his role as a stopper this season. Following Yankees losses, Sabathia is an unrealistic 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA and .202 batting average against in 13 starts, including the playoffs. New York is 11-2 in those games.“He's pitched really well all playoffs. And really, all season long when his knee has felt well. So I'm not surprised what he did tonight,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Monday. “We talked about it, we wanted him on the mound tonight. We thought we had the right guy on the mound tonight. Again, six innings, just an outstanding effort. Couldn't ask for anything more.”MORE: Yankees GM: "World Series or bust" a thing of the pastIt hasn’t been easy for Sabathia to get to this point — it never is when a pitcher, especially an elite one, has to reinvent himself — but he’s back to being the reliable, prevailing starter he used to be. It doesn’t look quite the same, but the end result is.It’s not clear whether Sabathia will don pinstripes again in 2018 — reports have indicated mutual interest — but for now he’s just seizing the moment. The postseason isn't over quite yet.“I'm just having fun and enjoying the ride,” he said.