Bronx, NY—The old baseball maxim “good pitching always stops good hitting” was proved true again during the Sunday afternoon, Father’s Day, ballgame at Yankee Stadium between the Yanks and Mets. After being shut out by Mets pitching two days earlier, the Yankees returned the favor as CC Sabathia blanked the Mets for eight innings to raise his current undefeated streak at Yankee Stadium to 14 games and win his fourth straight decision.
Sabathia, unlike many other pitchers, finds a hot and humid day to be agreeable, “I feel a lot better when it’s hot like that. I don’t have to work as hard to get my arm loose.”
As the ace of the staff, Sabathia is often matched against the ace of the opposing team. He has faced Roy Halladay and Sunday was the second time this year that he faced Johan Santana. This is not something that concerns Sabathia, “I’m not going out facing those guys; I’m facing thee lineups.”
Sabathia, the workhorse of the Yankees starting five, has been a boon to the bullpen. He has pitched at least seven innings and thrown at least 100 pitches in nine of his 15 starts. The starter shut out the Mets during a season-high eight innings, accomplished twice before. He scattered four hits and walked two batters. In only one inning, the seventh, did two batters reach base. Girardi said he considered sending Sabathia out in the ninth as the starter only threw 100 pitches, but “the rain [a 22 minute rain delay] made it easier to make a decision.”
Closer Mariano Rivera retired all three batters he faced in the final inning to keep the shut out intact.
The crucial at bat in the contest was that of Mark Teixeira in the third. After Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher each reached base via a single, Teixeira took a 1-1 pitch from Johan Santana deep into the left field stands for his fifth career grand slam home run.
After the previous day’s Yanks victory, Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke about Teixeira’s game tying home run, “Maybe this is the start of a long streak.” Although his batting average, .226, has not greatly improved, the Yankees first baseman has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games and scored in 11 of his last 13.
Girardi does not believe Teixeira’s current batting average is reflective of his ability or importance to the club, “He’s such an impactful player. For us, it’s just a matter of time before he gets hot and carries the team.” Girardi also expressed admiration for Teixeira’s calm demeanor and his consistently positive attitude, “His personality is consistent every day. It’s hard to tell what he did. That’s what you like. He’s a very easy player to manage.”
Sabathia, Sunday’s starter, is also impressed by the day’s star batter, “Tex is a pro. I think he knew that at some point he would come out of this [slump].”
The victory of the Yankees coupled with Florida’s defeat of the Tampa Rays gave the Yankees the undisputed first place position in the American League East and the best won/loss record in the majors. Inter-league play will continue next week. The Yankees will be on the West Coast to play the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers before returning to the Bronx to face Seattle on June 29.