Though it wasn’t a vintage performance, CC Sabathia reminded everyone why he’s one of the best pitchers in the game last night, keeping the Rangers at bay over a two-run, six-inning performance, and extending the Yankees’ season by at least one more game. Regardless of what happens in this series, it was electrifying to see Sabathia put the team on his broad shoulders and limit the damage while the bats finally came alive, and I’m just glad there’s still more Yankee baseball to be played. Matt will have more later breaking down the critical sixth inning, but here’s an overall look at Sabathia’s outing.
Per Brooks, here’s a breakdown of what Sabathia threw:
Randomly, Sabathia threw the exact same number of four-seamers and sinkers that Burnett did on Tuesday, though being Sabathia he got more strikes with his fastball than Burnett did. On the postgame Michael Kay said he thought Sabathia’s fastball topped out at 93mph, but according to this data CC did get it up to 95mph, with an average speed of 93. Sabathia’s slider was his best pitch last night per linear weights, getting thrown for a strike 64% of the time and generating six swing-and-misses.
Sabathia basically cruised through the first four innings before running intro trouble in the 5th and 6th. Per linear weights the average run expectancy on his pitches was worst in the fifth, though his laborious 33-pitch 6th inning was probably the most nerve-wracking of the evening, with a game-low 61% strike percentage.
Here’s Sabathia’s strike zone plot, also per Brooks:
Nothing too unusual here, other than the fact the Rangers, who seem to foul off more pitches than there are grains of sand on earth, not only fouled off 10 pitches in the zone (from what I can tell), but fouled off 14 out of the zone. Additionally, I want to know which lefty fouled the pitch off located at -2.1H, 1.3V. I’m guessing Mitch Moreland, during his epic sixth-inning battle with Sabathia. It also looks like CC wasn’t the beneficiary of any gift strikes, though there are a few too many green dots (5) in the strike zone for my liking.
All in all it was exactly the performance the Yankees needed from their ace, and tomorrow the fanbase pins its hopes on Phil Hughes, who has no choice but to pitch better than he did in Game 2.