Put the man on and get him in. The Yankees had the first half of this formula all month, but they haven’t executed the second. Last night they took care of business, putting 17 runners on base and leaving just seven of them stranded. That helped CC Sabathia through a shaky first few innings. He settled down as the game went on and ultimately was awarded his 20th victory of the season. He cared so much that he was in the clubhouse when the team recorded the final out.
The Yanks had control of this game from the beginning. They loaded the bases on a hit by pitch, a walk, and a single in the first, and then brought around two runner on a Jorge Posada single. Then in the second they got another on a sac fly. While the Orioles did creep back into it with a run in both the second and third, that’s as close as they’d get the rest of the way. The Yankees answered with another run in the fourth and then two in the fifth before tacking on five the rest of the way to seal the game.
Derek Jeter continued his revival, going 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBI. It seems like he’s had a good at-bat every single time up since the day off last weekend in Texas. His OBP has actually dropped a bit, but it seems like he’s ready to rip off a string of excellent games. The two runs scored put him over the century mark for the season. Robinson Cano also crossed the century mark tonight, as his two-run home run gave him 101 RBI on the season. He’s the third Yankee to reach the plateau.
What makes these plateaus so remarkable is that they come from infielders. The outfielders are always knows as the heavy bats, but the Yankees don’t operate that way. All four infielders slot into the first five lineup spots. That’s a pretty remarkable feat. What makes it more insane is that all three of the Yankees’ outfielders are among the top 11 AL outfielders in WAR. The offense might have sputtered lately, but it’s tough to question a group this stacked with top players.
Sabathia added a line to his Cy Young resume by recording his 20th win of the season. This shouldn’t matter, but it does. CC has pitched wonderfully this season and has lived up to all expectations of him. He also happens to pitch for the best team in the league. That alone — the best pitcher on the bet team — certainly should warrant consideration for the award. But after further examination it’s clear that other pitchers are having better years. But for the Yanks, CC has done it all. With the magic number down to just 7, it looks like Sabathia can take it easy in his last couple of starts and gear up for a long playoff run.
After a mean slump followed by last night’s dramatics, a blowout was just what the Yankees needed. Berkman was the only starter without a hit, but he gets a pass for the way he’s laced the ball since he returned from the DL. Other than that it was a relatively stress-free game. We’ll take another one of those any day.