Last night was one of those games where everything goes right. The offense piled up 15 hits, seven of which went for extra bases. CC Sabathia tossed eight dominant innings, striking out a season-high 10 and allowing just five baserunners. It added up to a landslide Yankees victory to kick-off a seven-game West Coast trip. Even with A-Rod and Posada sitting this one out, the Yanks still managed to pummel the Mariners, 11-1.
The Yankees started hitting early, and didn’t let up all game. They scored in five of nine innings, and put up multiple runs in four of them. Their seven extra base hits included a long home run by Derek Jeter, two shots to right by Hideki Matsui, and two doubles down the right field line by Damon. It helped that M’s manager Don Wakamatsu left in starter Ian Snell for six-plus innings despite obvious ineffectiveness.
One side effect of the offensive explosion, as requested yesterday, is that it gives Mo another day off. He proclaimed himself fit to close today, but Girardi will certainly feel more comfortable handing him the ball tomorrow after two full days’ rest. Not that he’d be uneasy if it came down to that tonight. It’s just that concerns about Mo’s “cranky” shoulder will be a day further in the past tomorrow. As the Yankees try to put some more distance between themselves and the Sox, Mo’s presence will be crucial.
On the mound, it was all Carsten Charles. A few weeks go, Mike commented on an article questioning CC’s contribution. Not his net contribution, which is decidedly positive. But rather his contribution in relation to the expectations. At the time Sabathia was 10-6 with a 3.67 ERA, quality by any measure, but was it ace-quality? CC didn’t help his case with an erratic start against Tampa Bay, and then a hot and cold start against Chicago. But over his last two starts CC has tossed 15.2 innings, allowing just five hits and one run, striking out 19 to four walks. They’ve been the definition of dominant.
During the month of August over his career, Sabathia has startd 49 games and has a 31-9 record, pitching 339 innings and allowing just 119 runs (3.16 ERA). Last year it was his best month, as he allowed just six runs over 48.1 innings, striking out 51 and walking eight. That was an insane year, and a repeat shouldn’t be expected — especially because it came in the much weaker NL Central. STill, CC has done his job these last two times out, and in emphatic fashion. He’ll get another tune-up start in Oakland before he gets another shot at Boston in Fenway. CC’s gotta be geared up for that one.
The game was awesome in every way. We had the pleasure of seeing the Yankees rack up hit after hit, run after run. We witnessed one of CC’s most dominant starts of the season. And we got it all in under three hours, a treat for a weeknight West Coast game. With the win and Justin Verlander’s dominance of Boston earlier in the day, the Yankees are again 6.5 games ahead of the Red Sox.
As if things couldn’t get any better, Carig notes that A-Rod is 50-50 for tomorrow. Considering how hard he got hit on the elbow and how questionable things seemed before the game, that’s quite good news. However, with Mitre and Gaudin going Saturday and Sunday, perhaps it’s best to have A-Rod feeling 100 percent for those games. The team might need the offense a bit more.
For tomorrow night, it’s Andy Pettitte vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith. A Friday West Coast game isn’t bad at all.