Sabathia’s poor luck in no-decisions

Sox turn the tables, down Yanks 14-1
Lazy Sunday Open Thread

CC Sabathia has started 26 games so far this season, and has recorded a decision in 21 of them. His current four-game win streak has tied him with Josh Beckett, his opponent tonight, for the AL lead in wins. That seems impressive, especially given Sabathia’s slow start to the season. Yet he could be doing much better if not for those five no-decisions.

The first came early in the season, in that infamous home opening series against the Indians. Sabathia and Cliff Lee dueled, and the former clearly didn’t have his best stuff or command. He tossed 122 pitches through 5.2 innings, which seems like quite a lot, even for a workhorse like Sabathia. After Edwar Ramirez allowed a hit in relief, Phil Coke shut the door on the sixth, leaving Sabathia’s one-run effort in tact. The game was tied at one then, but Cleveland exploded in the top of the seventh, hammering Jose Veras for three runs without him recording an out. Damaso Marte was equally embarrassing, and that led to an Indians victory. Sabathia pitched well, but not deep enough and it cost the Yanks.

The next was the only Sabathia no-decision this year which the team won, the 14-inning affair against Oakland. The Yanks had a 6-5 lead when Sabathia went out for the seventh, but a walk and a single to lead off the inning allowed the A’s to manufacture two runs and tie the game. Strange that the CC no-decision in which the Yankees won is the one where Sabathia is eminently culpable.

Perhaps the most frustrating no-decision came against the Phillies. Sabathia gave up an early lead, but settled down and completed eight innings of three-run ball. The Yanks were down when he left, but by no means did he pitch poorly. In fact, this start was better than many of the starts in which Sabathia recorded a victory. Alas, win-loss record has plenty to do with the offense, and this time around the Yanks couldn’t muster more than two off Cole Hamels. They tied it off Brad Lidge in the ninth for the second consecutive day, but Brett Tomko would blow the game in extras. No-decision for Sabathia, though he pitched much better than that.

Next up is a tough outing at the Stadium against Tampa Bay. Five runs through eight innings isn’t all that great. Yes, you’re giving your team length, but the five runs just hurt. It came mostly in a three-run sixth, which put the Rays out ahead by two. After Sabathia finished the eighth, the Yanks rallied for two in the bottom half, handing the ball to Mariano Rivera in hopes they could walk off with another win in the ninth. Mo was sick that day, though, and gave up four runs in the ninth, sealing the game for the Rays. Not the best start, and Sabathia probably did deserve to lose it. Mo was obviously the bigger story that day.

The final one I’m not sure even counts. It was Sabathia’s 1.1 inning appearance against the Marlins, which he left with biceps tendinitis. He did allow a run in that span, and Aceves did come on to get the Yanks through the fourth inning, but again it was Tomko who blew the lead. Phil Coke didn’t help, and that was it for the Yanks, despite an effort off Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom. Again, it’s hard to hold CC completely responsible. He did, after all, only pitch about as much as a typical reliever.

That’s five no-decisions, two in which he pitched well, two in which he pitched poorly, and one throw-away. So while the Yanks are just 15-11 in games Sabathia has started, it clearly wasn’t always his fault. Sometimes the luck breaks that way. All considered, CC has pitched very well for the Yankees, especially over his last four starts. Here’s hoping he emerges tonight as the league leader in wins.

Sox turn the tables, down Yanks 14-1
Lazy Sunday Open Thread
  • Dela G

    i believe he will win today too

  • lenNY’s Yankees

    Yes, he has five no-decisions. That’s not a lot, actually. Nobody gets the decision in every game they pitch. Andy Pettitte is the guy who has been screwed by no-decisions this year.

    However, five is a little more than expected for a guy who pitches deep into games nearly every time. There is no doubt he has been a huge help to the Yanks by winning games and eating up innings.

    Just for reference: (no-decisions)

    Beckett (6)
    Carpenter (4)
    Marquis (2)
    Wainwright (5)
    Halladay (5)
    J. Santana (3)
    Verlander (6)
    Weaver (8)
    Billingsley (7)
    Cain (9)

    • JGS

      a little more than expected maybe, but two of them went into extras and one of them he left after four outs

  • miketotheg

    That was a well written thoughtful post. I think the effort starters put in when they get a no decsion is something teammates appreciate in a ” we’ll get ’em next time for ya”

    I think CC has a lot of heart, tonight is going to be a great win for us.

  • Dax J.

    I don’t wanna predict wins.. yesterday we were predicting a win against Tazawa and that came back to bite us in the ass. I want my team to win, but we have to remember is Fenway and it’s against Beckett. Let’s go Bombers!

    • bumboklaat

      In terms of ripping away the morale of the Red Sox, today is a ery important game.

  • bumboklaat


  • misterd

    Ignoring the fact that wins are a garbage stat, it seems the no decisions have been pretty fair to CC – he could have 2 more wins, but also 2 more losses, a 16-9 instead of 14-7 (which, by percentage, is a actually a bit more favorable than 16-9). This is a team that tends to score late, and CC benefits most because he goes deeper into games than any of our other starters. He easily has the fewest ND’s of any of our 4 starters.

    Burnett, on the other hand, has 8 no-decisions, and Pettite 9. In those ND’s, the team is 6-2 and 7-2 respectively. Then there’s Joba, who has a whopping 12 NDs (thanks to his inning limit) in which the team is 8-4.

    Baseball reference also keeps track of “cheap wins” (win in poor start) and “tough losses” (loss in quality start), and again CC seems to get a fair shake with a 1-0 record. AJ has 1-2, Pettite 3-1 and Joba 1-1.

    Then there’s wins lost and losses won by the bullpen. Here CC actually befits well at 1-3, compared to AJ’s 0-5, Pettite’s 1-2 and Joba’s 1-7.

    All things considered, of all the Yankee starters CC’s record may be the one that best reflects his performance this season.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      I enjoyed this comment very much — written out for emphasis.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        sorry, but i can’t stand wins being called a useless stat…i hope everyone understands you can pitch a no-hitter and still lose–you need the help (some unwilling) of at least 17 other people plus 4 unfeeling aliens in order to get a win or a loss.

        would you rather we decide who goes to the world series based on team era? whip? ops?

        i know you what mean when you say ‘wins is a garbage stat’ (or at least i hope i do) insofar as it is a poor measure of a pitcher’s overall performance–how hard is it to imagine a pitcher we think is pretty darn good, and has demonstrated flashes of superstar potential, but has 12 ND’s already this year? (oh, wait…)

        hey, at least i’m not espousing mvp’s based on rbi!


        happy Sunday, and lets rip this one away from the ESPN umps Red Sox!!!

        • misterd

          I’m talking about wins as an individual stat. Obviously as a TEAM stat they are the single most important stat we have.

    • Salty Buggah

      Nicely done research. The only thing I don’t agree with is saying that Joba’s NDs are because of his innings limit. He was never stopped from going deep into the game, it’s just that he got his pitch count really high early in the game. Other than that, good post.

  • danny

    i think this game is important because the yankees do have a tough schedule coming up with games against texas and whitesox so winning this game will give us alot of momentum and a 6 1/2 lead is much more comfortable than a 5 1/2 game lead with a tough homestand. if the red sox win than it gives them a great deal of momentum and it could be the spark plug that leads them to a great stretch especically since their home for the next 7 games or so. and the biggest reason they need to win today is because it will piss the redsox fans off and make them squirm a little which i enjoy tremendously =)

    • AndrewYF

      They do face tough opponents, but they face them at Yankee Stadium, where they have a .695 winning percentage.

    • AndrewYF

      In fact, the only tough opponent the Yankees face on the road for the rest of the season is LAA and TB.

      • misterd

        If you check the schedule for the Yanks and Sox after this series it is fairly even. The Sox have to come to the stadium and, I think, have fewer off days, but the Yanks have a west coast trip.

        The final stand against the Rays is likely to be meaningless for us, though maybe not for Tampa. The Red Sox biggest advantage in the WC run is the final 4 games at home against the Indians.