Since 2009 the answer to the question who should start a big game for the Yankees has had only one answer: CC Sabathia. Since 2009 CC has been dominant in pinstripes, earning his spots in big games. Except this year. Sabathia is essentially putting up his worst season – not as a Yankee, ever. Sabathia has currently put up 2.2 fWAR. His rookie season he managed just 2.8. Right now the big guy projects to come up short of the mark he managed as a rookie.
Given the fact that down the stretch the Yankees are going to play significant baseball, and may very well find themselves in the single game Wild Card playoff, it is worth asking if CC should get the ball in a must win situation. Right now the answer has to be no. Sabathia isn’t the best Yankee pitcher this season. Hiroki Kuroda is. (For what its worth, according to Fangraphs, Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova have also both been better than CC.) In a pinch, on the merits, the Yankees should give the ball to Hiroki, not CC.
Would they do it? Up to this point the Yankees haven’t found themselves in a situation where they’d have to take the ball out of Sabathia’s hands. But a time may come soon when they’ll have to make a decision. Baseball is a sport where players can hold on to their jobs longer than they should. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Yankees decided to go to Sabathia for a must win, based on his track record, but hopefully they won’t do that. As much as it pains me to write it, Sabathia hasn’t earned the big game starts this year. Kuroda has.