Did Girardi push C.C. too hard?

Secondly, there isn’t really any reason to think that the additional work will affect Sabathia in three days time. While the idea that fewer pitches thrown makes it easier to pitch on short rest, there isn’t any concrete evidence for the effect, and plenty of former starting pitchers will attest that it’s easier to pitch later in the game than earlier (up to a certain point, anyway). Remember that getting the arm loose and warmed up is stress in itself, as is throwing, say 60-75 pitches. In any case, it’s not like Sabathia was rally pushed physically in the game: he only threw 103 pitches over the eight innings he worked, and thanks to the nine run cushion the offense provided, he never faced a stressful situation that required him to really bear down and get out of a jam or anything like that.

Most of all, the fact that Sabathia soaked up those extra innings and the Yankees only needed to get one inning of work out of Freddy Garcia means that Girardi will have a full complement of relievers to call on today and tomorrow. That’s a pretty big net benefit for him both because David Phelps is making his first start in a few weeks tonight, and because the Yankees control their own destiny. Seriously, I can’t repeat that enough. Right now the Yankees ought to be primarily focused on winning both of the next two games and securing both the A.L. East and the right to play the winner of the wildcard game in the ALDS. Having everyone in the bullpen available to be deployed as needed will go a long way towards doing that.

In short, there’s really no reason whatsoever to second guess Girardi for the way he handled his ace. On the one hand, saving his bullpen increases the Yankees’ chances of winning tonight and tomorrow, which would allow them to avoid the wildcard game altogether. On the other hand, there’s no reason to assume that throwing 103 pitches will affect Sabathia’s ability to start on Friday if need be in the first place.

And if you’re keeping score at home: it’s officially October and a) the Orioles and A’s have clinched playoff berths and still ave a chance to win their respective divisions, and b) I’m defending Joe Girardi’s managing in a meaningful game. Maybe it’s time to start buying into that Mayan stuff after all…

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

8 thoughts on “Did Girardi push C.C. too hard?

  1. Ben

    Not just NY media, it's national. Courtesy of Rosenthal on Foxsports and Knobler on CBS Sports. Of course Schoenfeld on ESPN is showering praise on the A's and Tigers. It's just sad how biased the media is against the Yankees' team. They're always going to find ways to boost their competition while only harp on the Yankee deficiencies.

  2. uyf1950

    NO, he did not. That's all I have to say on the matter.

  3. matt

    Does CC get contract bonuses at 200 innings pitched and 200 K's?

  4. We can't forget that CC's (relatively) underworked versus prior years "thanks" to his DL stint. Those are the bullets saved.

  5. jay_robertson

    In addition to saving relievers for tonight, when they WILL be needed, the extra inning or two gave CC just that much more time to work off the rust. He HAS missed time on the DL – on the one hand, yes, baby him. But it wasn't that long ago – he's just finally getting back into "CC" shape. If an extra inning or two helps, by all means, send him back.

  6. Norm

    No, he didn't. CC is a workhorse that seemingly thrives the more he pitches. I think back to last year, when his performance faltered a bit after the Yankees went to a six man rotation at the end of the season. Plus, he's a warrior. I'd say, he wants the ball, give him the damned ball. The last thing he wants or needs is to be babied.

  7. ProfRobert

    Well, I was surprised that CC came out for the 7th inning. I would have put Garcia in then with that kind of lead. While I agree the focus is on winning these three games, you can't wish away a realistic possibility that there will be an elimination game on Friday, and saving two innings of pitches can only help.

  8. Anders

    Right: Pull the big man after seven and 92 pitches and he hasn't been given a chance to stretch out properly…

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