A lot has been made of the Baby Bombers in 2017. The Yankees are the third team in history with a 200-strikeout pitcher (Luis Severino) and two 30-HR hitters (Judge and Sanchez.)
Then there’s the 37-year-old CC Sabathia. He hadn’t won double-digit games since 2013, but is now 12-5 with a 3.81 ERA.
It looked like it would be a long night when the Twins loaded the bases on four pitches in the first inning, including two bunt singles. Then the veteran lefty retired 15 of the next 16 batters, en route to pitching six innings of two-run ball.
“Just lucky my stuff was pretty good coming out of the bullpen because everything happened so quick,” Sabathia said about pitching out of the first inning jam.
Sabathia also moved into third on the all-time strikeout list for left- handed pitchers, passing Mickey Lolich. Only Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson had more.
“It’s amazing what he’s accomplished in his career,” Joe Girardi said. “And he’s been that guy that you could count on in big situations, and he’s been that here, too.”
He might not be the 230-inning per year workhorse he once was, but he’s been a very good starter for the last four months. His record was 2-2 in mid-May but he’s seemingly turned back the clock. And this is despite two stints on the Disabled List.
The Yankees are now 17-8 in his starts. That includes his streak of five consecutive wins in late May-early June, with each win following a Yankees loss.
He’s second among active pitchers with 507 starts. Only Bartolo Colon, who will start against the Yankees on Wednesday, has made more. Sabathia leads active pitchers in strikeouts, complete games and quality starts. And he’s second in wins, innings pitched and starts.
By his own admittance, he’s not a numbers guy. When he was congratulated for his strikeout milestone he wasn’t aware what he was being congratulated for. “That’s pretty cool,” Sabathia said. “Especially with the two guys in front of me that I’m never going to catch, but it’s cool to have your name right up there with those guys.”
It will be nice to one day sit back and look at the accomplishments of an impressive career, one that might even take him to the Hall of Fame. But for now, Sabathia’s one of the main reasons the Yankees will likely be in the postseason.