Sabathia brilliant as Yanks hand M’s 17th straight loss


Another night, another rain delay (two, actually), another win for the Yankees. They followed a very generic but proven effective formula to win Tuesday’s game: get great starting pitching for your ace, hit some homers, hand the ball off to Mariano Rivera, go home. It’s that simple. For Seattle, that meant a 17th consecutive loss.

Almost perfect.

King CC

We’ll never know. We’ll never know what could have been if it wasn’t for the rain. CC Sabathia wasn’t just dominating the Mariners, he was perfect through the first 5.1 innings, retiring the first 16 men he faced before the skies opened up for a 30 or so minute rain delay. Sabathia had struck out the last seven men he faced before the delay and eleven overall to that point, getting swings and misses with every pitch in his arsenal. Only one Mariner had hit the ball out of the infield to that point, and that was Ichiro‘s line out to center on the very first pitch of the game.

That first delay didn’t seem to phase CC, who came back out and retired the next two men to end the sixth. He struck out Ichiro on a hanging slider to kick off the seventh, but he fell behind to Brendan Ryan and gave him a 2-0 fastball. Ryan put a good swing on the ball and ended the perfect game bid with a legitimate single to left. Did the delay throw Sabathia’s command off a bit? Maybe, but again, we’ll never really know. Two more strikeouts and the end of the inning followed.

It started to rain again, and there was a short little delay in the middle of the seventh. The official word was a 14 minute delay, then the Yankees went down quickly against Doug Fister, so the total downtime for CC was maybe 20-22 minutes. At 84 pitches, Sabathia went back out for the eighth and I had no issue with it. Twenty minutes is nothing, it’s like sitting in the dugout while the Yankees score a run or three on offense. Joe Girardi will get torn to shreds because CC walked the first three batters of the inning but whatever, complainers gonna complain.

Sabathia’s 14 strikeouts are a new career high, the third time in his last three starts he’s whiffed ten-plus batters. He raised his season K/9 from 7.9 to 8.3 in this game alone, and my calculations have his already league-leading 5.2 WAR climbing to 5.7, the fourth highest single-season WAR of his career. We’re still in July. The Mariners had no chance in this game, none. Sabathia could have shut them down right-handed. The big guy was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Oh, Hey, Yeah They Scored Some Runs Too

Look where that pitch is. Drove that sucker right out.

Through all of 2009, all of 2010, and the first 100 games of the 2011 season, Curtis Granderson hit exactly zero homeruns to the opposite field. The last time he hit one out to left was in September of 2008, but not anymore. The Grandyman sat back on a 2-2 curveball and clobbered a big fly to left in the fourth, a solo shot that just cleared the left field wall near the foul pole. That’s some serious strength, and was his team leading 28th bomb. It gave New York a 1-0 lead.

The Yankees tacked on two runs in the very next inning, an inning that started with three straight singles and four singles by the first five batters. Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez (more on him in a bit), Jorge Posada, and Brett Gardner all got involved, and Derek Jeter plated a run with an RBI groundout. I have to say, I was impressed by Fister, a former Yankees draft pick who works quickly with a no-nonsense, four-pitch mix and pounds the zone. That fifth inning was the only time all game he labored, but he was otherwise plenty good enough to win. Unfortunately giving up three runs with that offense backing him is an auto-loss.


There was a mess to clean up in that eighth inning after Sabathia walked the bases loaded, and of course the man brought in to take care of business was David Robertson. He was a little wild, but struck out Adam Kennedy in a full count for the first out before running the count full to the corpse of Chone Figgins. Figgins grounded the ball to third where Chavez bobbled it before stepping on the base for the second out. He probably didn’t have enough time to get the runner at the plate or throw to first for the double play anyway. Ichiro struck out looking to end the threat. Robertson allowed a run to score, but that’s almost unavoidable in the situation he inherited. He did his job and limited the damaging, keeping Sabathia’s line nice and beautiful.

HOPE Week is the best week.


Welcome back Mr. Chavez. He made his presence know with two nice stops – one to his left and one to his right – to end the second and third innings before singling in that two-run fifth inning. Chavy did bobble that ball in the eighth, but that’s not the end of the world. It’s good to have him back though, he put together some solid at-bats and reminded us all that he’s still a really, really good glove guy despite all the injuries. With all due respect to Brandon Laird, the Yankees got a nice boost with Chavez’s return.

Granderson’s team lead in homers didn’t last long, Mark Teixeira tied him with his eighth inning solo shot, his third of the homestand and 100th as a Yankee. He also singled earlier in the game. Pretty much all the offense has already been mentioned; Gardner had a single, Jeter an RBI ground out, Grandy the homer, Tex the homer and single, Swisher a single and a walk, Chavez a hit, and Posada two hits. Robinson Cano and Frankie Cervelli took 0-fers. Like I said, Fister ws pretty impressive, I’m a fan. He’s not a star, but a very solid pitcher.

Mariano Rivera closed things out with two strikeouts in a perfect ninth, so all told Yankees pitchers’ struck out 18 and allowed just the one hit to Ryan. Only one other team has thrown an 18-strikeout one-hitter in a nine-inning game since 1920, and that was Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game in 1998. Pretty neat. The Yankees are a season-high 21 games over .500, and have won three in a row plus eight of 13 since the All-Star break. They’re fattening up that win total just like they should be.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other fun stuff, and ESPN the up to date standings.

Up Next

The Yankees will go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon at 1pm ET, when Phil Hughes gets the ball against Felix Hernandez. If the Mariners can’t win that one, they may never win again.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. first time lawng time says:

    Granderson kinda looks like Jay-Z in that picture.


  2. YankeesJunkie says:

    Watching CC was purely incredible tonight. I thought his start in Milwaukee was as good as it gets, but the first 7 innings of the game tonight were just special. Maybe (huge maybe) if it were not for the rain delay we might be talking about something even better than this beastly performance.

  3. bakekrukow412 says:

    If CC were on any other team the, national media like ESPN and Fox Sports would be praising him like he was the messiah. But because he’s a Yankee, Josh Beckett must be the best pitcher in the East this year.

    • Rich in NJ says:

      That will happen if/when he opts out. Then, when he inevitably re-signs with the Yankees he will again be portrayed as overweight, overpaid, and overhyped.

      • first time lawng time says:

        I don’t think it’s inevitable he resigns. I heard he might go to Boston or LAA

        • Rich in NJ says:


          • first time lawng time says:

            He likes warm weather, songs could go to LA. And Boston is unloading like $56 million this year.

            • first time lawng time says:

              So he, not songs

            • Rich in NJ says:

              Think what you want. I’m not concerned, or at least I won’t be until like 2017.

            • AaronGuielWithASmile says:

              If weather was a deciding factor for him then he would’ve signed on the west coast 3 years ago.

              And I’m pretty sure that the Yankees would literally match any offer that Boston made for CC. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that the Yankees allow the Red Sox to outbid them for their own ace.

              • Mister Delaware says:

                Also, I’m not sure you want to come here for the weather unless you’re looking for about a dozen absolutely perfect days sandwiched in between 350+ not perfect days.

            • Thomas Cassidy says:

              Nope. Otherwise he wouldn’t be telling Prince to come to New York.

  4. HyShai says:

    Serious question – is Fister a trade option?

  5. first time lawng time says:

    Who are the top 3 for the AL CYA do you think? Any chance CC wins it?

    I would bet:
    1. Verlander
    2. CC
    3. Beckett

    • Xstar7 says:

      2. Weaver
      3. CC

      • YankeesJunkie says:


        In seriousness though it will be a tight race the entire way and if any of these pitchers could get 22 or 23 wins they could grab the Cy Young.

    • AaronGuielWithASmile says:

      I couldn’t complain if Verlander wins it.

      But if Josh Beckett gets it over CC, I might snap.

      • Phife Dawg says:

        To be fair, Beckett has been really good this year. 2.07 era,196 era+,has a WHIP under 1, and is allowing 5.7 H/9.

        Hard to see him winning unless Verlander or CC get hurt for a substantial period of time.

        • AaronGuielWithASmile says:

          He has been nasty this season. I just hate him and his stupid little soul patch.

          And as good as he’s been, I can’t get over the fact that CC and Verlander have both pitched ~40 more innings than Beckett has.

          • And as good as he’s been, I can’t get over the fact that CC and Verlander have both pitched ~40 more innings than Beckett has.

            Repeated for emphasis. CC, Verlander, and Weaver have all been as dominant as Beckett has (if not moreso), but they’ve been dominant for more of their team’s innings than Beckett has.

            Important distinction.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      I can’t see any way it isn’t Weaver at this point. There’s been some luck there, any maybe it runs out, but 150+ innings of 1.81 ERA ball is Cy.

  6. Phife Dawg says:

    What a difference having CC makes, he has a chance to do something special every time he takes the hill. It’s hard to believe the mid-2000′s Yankee teams aside from Randy Johnson did not have any power pitchers that could dominate the way CC does. He’s fucking awesome.

  7. Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

    I am truly sorry I missed this. Anytime CC is dealing, it’s special.

    Also, is there any chance Mo gets 600 saves this year? I would say about a 40% chance.

  8. AaronGuielWithASmile says:

    I can’t remember seeing a team look as pathetic as Seattle. After the final out, 5 or 6 of their players sat in the dugout and just stared blankly onto the field watching the Yankees celebrate–that’s just sad.

    Jack Zduriencik should dump everyone aside from Felix, Pineda, Ackley, and Smoak and just start over. He could get a strong return on Fister, League, Bedard, Olivo, and even a fading Ichiro if he gets aggressive and takes advantage of the weak trade market.

    • Phife Dawg says:

      Hard to believe they were .500 at one point. That offense is a fucking joke aside from Ackley and Smoak. Their “best” Ichiro is pretty much done at this point.

      It must suck to be the Mariner’s hitting coach.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      If you look at the roster makeup it is not as far out as this 17 game losing streak suggest. They have Felix, Pineda, and Fister in their rotation. Not to mention Ackley and Smoak in the right side of the infield so they have a nice core. Their biggest advantage may be that they will have a lot of money to spend on offense and maybe make a run in either 2012 or 2013.

  9. Mister Delaware says:

    I can’t stop watching this stupid Pirates @ Braves game.

  10. Mattchu12 says:

    I was there, and no doubt about it, he was going to pitch a Perfect Game until that rain delay. He wasn’t the same pitcher after that. Pre-Rain Delay CC was out of this world…wherever he wanted to put the ball, it was there. I, and everyone around me, knew we were watching something special.

    Stupid mother nature…

  11. ItsATarp says:

    It was at the game. Stadium was pumping at every out CC made and even when he gave up the hit they were all pumped up for the K’s. Too bad it rained and it seemed like the only thing that was able to affect CC even a little.

  12. BigBlueAL says:

    Is CC the best Yankee SP since Ron Guidry?? Im talking about for their Yankee career, obviously guys like Clemens and the Big Unit (along with Cone) had great careers but their prime seasons were not with the Yankees. Assuming CC stays with the Yankees after this season (more like praying he does) he could eventually become one of the 4 or 5 greatest Yankee SP’s ever if not even a bit higher.

    BTW I know this is way, way, way premature since it is only his 3rd season with the Yankees and he is already 31 yo but man he is unbelievable. I always wondered how awesome it would be to watch a SP for an entire season dominate like Guidry did for the Yankees in 1978 but I think this is easily the closest I have ever gotten to see a Yankee SP dominate during the regular season.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Pettitte and Moose just to name a couple in the last 10 years.

      • BigBlueAL says:

        Loved Pettitte but the last thing you can say was that he was a dominant SP. Maybe in 1997 but even then nowhere near the K/9 that CC has.

        Moose had 4 great seasons with the Yankees but Im not sure any of those were better than CC’s last 2 seasons let alone this season.

        Cone’s 1997 and 1998 seasons rank up there especially 1997 but he broke down toward the end of the season and didnt even reach 200 innings.

  13. I find it ironic how Hope Week and the Mariners came at the same time…

  14. Alfredo says:

    in CC next start against the red soxs he will strike out 10 red soxs and pitch a CG shotout. Are you guys not hopeing he has his bad start before the red soxs that way he pitches good against the red soxs?

  15. Alfredo says:

    i will laugh very hard if the mariners can not beat hughes twomorrow with King Felix on the mound.

  16. Kiko Jones says:

    The Yankees will go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon…when Phil Hughes gets the ball against Felix Hernandez. If the Mariners can’t win that one, they may never win again.”

    Ouch! Sad, but true.

  17. Xstar7 says:

    The Pirates @ Braves game just won’t end. It’s in the 19th inning now.

  18. Stratman9652 says:

    It wasn’t the delay that worried me, it was the constant drizzle that made me worry about his grip and footing. To still be that brilliant with wet hands and a muddy pitching mound is amazing.

  19. Hall and Nokes says:

    Proctor can win it here!

  20. Dino Velvet says:

    I had no idea Scott Proctor had returned to baseball.

  21. Dino Velvet says:

    Does a curfew rule still exist??

    Yesterday, the Red Sox game ended at 2 AM and today the Pirate game ended at 2 AM.

    • mbonzo says:

      Weird, but nope the ground rules or local laws might say something, but there is nothing in the MLB rules.

      • Dino Velvet says:

        There used to be a time when they would suspend a game, I certainly remember games getting suspended in the 70s, but those were also the days when teams didn’t dread make-up double headers.

  22. Will says:

    Well…as far as CC, wow. That was one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen by a Yankee starter (and I’ve been a fan since 1991).

    Otherwise, I do kind of feel bad for the Mariners—they are a bad baseball team, but they aren’t as bad as the last 17 games. One thing I did notice is that other than Ichiro, every Mariner batter that struck out on a pitch in the dirt in the last two games actually ran to first base. That says a lot about a team on a 17 game losing streak.

    Glad the Yankees are going into tomorrow’s (today’s?) game with house money. In a way, I hope Hughes gets bombed, b/c maybe a poor performance against THAT offense will clue the Yankee brass in on the fact that he’s not an MLB-caliber pitcher.

  23. Cody says:

    Its gonna be fun tomorrow watching the King shove sliders and 2 seamers and 4 seamers up Jetes (et al) arse tomorrow. I don’t even care that our team sucks and we cant hit water if we fell out of a boat, The King is ours and you can’t have him. Felix owns River Ave, but only for one start a year, not 16 :) Back to 3 out after tomorrow. And yes I am enjoying the cellar, and the 17 game losing streak. Watching the Yankees whine about not having Felix is worth it. World Series titles be dam_ed… :)

  24. Sabathia was just great . He was like a superman who just appeared o this planet for a few minutes and ………..work done !!

  25. Complainer says:

    “complainers gonna complain”

    Yes I am. That 8th inning meltdown from CC really tainted an otherwise dominant start for me, even if the box score doesn’t show it. After a negligible rain delay and a low pitch count, he goes out there, completely loses control of the zone, and walks 3 straight to put the tying run on base and recording zero outs, counting on the bullpen to get out of it and secure the win. It was tough to watch that and still feel good about the whole outing.

    This game felt like a microcosm of the season as a whole, having a tale of two CC’s: the one where you’re like “wow, this guy is amazing” and the one where you’re like “what happened to the other CC?”. Fortunately, there’s been much more of the former than the latter, and if we keep getting the dominance in a 7:1 ratio, then it’s stupid to complain.

    But I still am.

    • first time lawng time says:

      and the one where you’re like “what happened to the other CC?”.

      Umm no one is saying that. In vase you missed it, CC is having arguably his best season as a Yankee.

      • Complainer says:

        I meant the royal “you”, as in “me”. And by the other CC, I mean the one who hasn’t pitched nearly as dominant against Texas, Detroit, or Boston, three likely playoff opponents. I agree that he’s having his best season as a Yankee, but I’d also argue that that’s largely an effect of dominating bad teams.

    • Completely irrational.

      • Complainer says:

        I’m not trying to argue that he hasn’t been great when he’s been great, more trying to point out how alarming it is when he’s not, and how close they were to a devastating 8th-inning meltdown (not hard to imagine, if Robertson had given up a couple dinky hits or a double).

        Or, to put it another way, if this were Burnett out there, walking three straight guys to start the eighth with a 3-run lead, while Girardi did nothing, would we be so cool with it?

        • Or, to put it another way, if this were Burnett out there, walking three straight guys to start the eighth with a 3-run lead, while Girardi did nothing, would we be so cool with it?

          I concede your point. If things were different, they wouldn’t be the same.

        • Adam Parker says:

          Or, to put it another way, if this were Burnett out there, walking three straight guys to start the eighth with a 3-run lead, while Girardi did nothing, would we be so cool with it?

          But wait, Girardi *did* do something… he took CC out and brought Robertson in… AJ has a shorter leash because he has earned it.

  26. David, Jr. says:

    A great job by Robertson in the 8th, although he will soon be replaced by Raphael “He’s My 8th Inning Guy”Soriano.

  27. Guest says:

    “Sabathia guessed that he’s shaken off Cervelli two or three times since Cervelli became his regular catcher. ”

    This is an important and unfortunate development that I missed.
    If this carries long enough, does this mean Cervelli starts game 1 of a playoff series?

    I guess if CC feels comfortable with Cerv, you’d want to keep the big man happy. But something tells me that CC can dominate even without Cerv behind the plate.

  28. Tampa Yankee says:

    I don’t know if this was mentioned in the Game Thread (TL;DR) and I don’t see it mentioned in the recap or the above comments but when Robertson K’d Kennedy after replacing CC, it was his 10th straight K while pitching with the bases loaded (from mlb.com). Pretty cool stat right there.


  29. Joe Girardi will get torn to shreds because CC walked the first three batters of the inning but whatever, complainers gonna complain.

    Haters wanna hate, lovers wanna love
    I don’t even want, NONE OF THE ABOVE

  30. Hester Prynne says:

    Those advocating against CC for Cy Young make me sick. What do all you stat heads make sure to mention when we say one player is better than another? WAR. Who leads all AL pitchers in WAR? CC. CC is the Cy Young, period.

    • CP says:

      Exactly. Normally you see people being homers and favoring players on their teams. Now there is a Yankee that is the clear favorite for Cy Young and, for some reason, people are down on him. I just don’t get it.

    • Who leads all AL pitchers in WAR? CC

      AL pitching fWAR leaderboard:
      1. Sabathia 5.6
      2. Verlander 5.1
      3t. Weaver 5.1
      3t. Haren 4.6
      5. Masterson 3.8

      AL pitching bWAR leaderboard:
      1. Weaver 6.0
      2. Verlander 5.8
      3t. Sabathia 4.8
      3t. Beckett 4.8
      5. Shields 3.9

      Perhaps those people who “make you sick” were looking at more than just one way of calculating Wins over Replacement. That’s a possibility, no?

      There really isn’t much of a wrong answer at this point between Verlander, CC, and Weaver; however you want to rank those three is fine with me. I’d probably give the slight edge to Verlander at the moment because he’s been just as dominant with slightly more innings pitched.

  31. Hester Prynne says:

    And just as everyone wrote off Posada he came up with 2 hits, starting his hot streak. Don’t bury guys like Jeter and Posada because they always come back. If Brian Cashman listened to everyone on here we would traded Nick Swisher in May.

    • Cris Pengiuci says:

      Posada seems to do just enough to keep his job. While the 2 hits last night were great, he needs to go on a bit of a run and consistently get some hits. Otherwise, if Montero remains with the team, I can see him coming up shortly after the trade deadline. Love Posada, but he needs to hit.

  32. first time lawng time says:


    Interesting article, however there are some points I disagree with.

    1. If it’s so predictable that CC would no hit the Mariners, since their offense sucks, couldn’t you also argue that it’s predictable that Robertson would get out of that jam, which he has been doing all year? And, furthermore, against the anemic offense of Seattle, which would make it even more expected?
    2. I’m sorry, I love Robertson, but how is getting out of a bases loaded jam in a regular season game against Seattle more exciting (or whatever Wally’s terminology was) than watching a guy take a perfect game into the 7th and striking out 14 (and at one point 7 in a row)? In fact, i’m pretty sure I didn’t even see any mention of CC’s strikeouts.
    3. How was it “inexcusable” that CC isn’t out for the 8th. The delay was 14 minutes long. If Joe went to Robertson and he had a melt down, there would be an article saying how Joe is an idiot and should have kept CC in.

  33. Complainer says:

    “the fourth highest single-season WAR of his career. We’re still in July.”

    As I am fairly ignorant of the details of WAR, I’ll ask: is it possible for WAR to decrease as the season goes on? Seems trivial to note how good a non-incremental statistic is at a relative point of the season, so maybe I’m wrong.

    • WAR is a counting stat, just like RBIs or GIDPs. But since you can accumulate negative WAR by playing poorly (i.e., below replacement level) for a game/week/month/season, yes, your WAR can decrease as the season goes on.

    • Sure, it can decrease if he were to pitch below a replacement level pitcher, which is obviously unlikely. It’s certainly significant to note it at a relative point in the season though. It doesn’t jump around drastically.

      • Complainer says:

        I guess that’s more my question: is the only way for WAR to go down if he pitches below replacement level? For instance, let’s say he’s at 5.7 for the games so far this season. If his WAR for the remaining games of the season is 3.0, will his overall WAR be below, equal to, or above the current 5.7? It’s easier to picture how these things are affected with more traditional stats like ERA.

        • 28 this year says:

          basically WAR is comprised of the amount of runs he adds over a standard definition of a replacement level pitcher (essentially a AAAA type guy). Should he go out and pitch below replacement level, his total runs would go down and therefore same with his WAR. Say he has added 50 runs above replacement level. For it to go down, he must be below replacement level cause even slightly above replacement level would tack on to that +50.

        • In your analogy, it would be 8.7. It’s not like ERA or AVG. As TJSC noted, it’s a counting stat, just one that can be subtracted from.

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