CC Sabathia and the Heating Pad of DoomBy
At the rate we’re going, Yankee fans and the hypersensitive media that covers them are going to start panicking before Spring Training ends. Today’s freakout du jour comes to courtesy of Anthony McCarron, The Daily News and CC Sabathia’s in-game heating pad.
McCarron notes that a few Yankee watchers are concerned about CC’s health. It’s odd, they say, for a pitcher with a history of abdominal strains to use a heating pad on Opening Day to stay loose. (Oh, wait.) Noted doctor and pitching expert John Flaherty had a few things to say about Sabathia’s outing. “When I’m watching him pitch and see the heat pad and then see him throwing 88-89, it’s almost like he’s protecting something and pitching at 70%,” the YES Network color man said.
It’s a good thing I’m sitting here in my mom’s basement in front of a computer with access to, you know, real numbers. While the notoriously unreliable YES gun may have said 88-89, the true numbers provided to us by MLB.com’s Pitch f/x system tell otherwise. Mike explored this in depth yesterday, but it’s a point worth repeating. Pitch f/x had CC’s average fastball velocity as 93 with a peak of 95. His change-up was at 85, and his breaking pitchers were around 80. But, hey, why verify facts? If John Flaherty said it, that must make it reality.
McCarron eventually makes some good points. Will Carroll pointed out that Sabathia’s release point was off, and Jim Kaat wondered why Sabathia threw six straight sliders to Luke Scott. But those points are buried under an avalanche of Yankee denials.
Sabathia’s location was off on Monday because his release point was off. He just had one of those day and couldn’t get the pitches over. He had no problems with velocity; he is showing no signs of injury; and the Yankees aren’t about to start taking early-season chances with their $23 million pitcher. If he’s hurt he won’t pitch, and right now he’s going to pitch. If he doesn’t show improvement over his next few starts, we’ll all start to worry, but one game does not a trend make.