Yankees fans, with all the hoopla surrounding the choice to have Luis Severino pitch the do or die one-game shootout against the Twins on Tuesday, let’s not dismiss the possibility of starting CC Sabathia in the opening game of the ALDS.
Undeniably, Luis Severino is the ace of the Yankees staff and the decision by manager, Joe Girardi, to start him on Tuesday is warranted. Hopefully, that game will result in the need for the next series of decisions by Girardi. And perhaps, the biggest of those will come when he selects a starter for Game One of the ALDS.
Post Update, October 5 CC to start Game Two
It’s official. Joe Girardi will go with Sabathia in Game Two against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night. Girardi’s choice of Sabathia may have been swayed by Tanaka’s home-away splits in the 2017 season, allowing Tanaka to pitch at Yankee Stadium in Game Three.
In a twist hurled by Indians manager, Terry Francona, Corey Kluber will not start Game One. Trevor Bauer (17-9) will open the series against Gray.
Everything is subject to change, however, and with only 29 pitches thrown, Luis Severino can be called on anytime he is needed, including making a start in Game Three. Oh my, it’s playoff baseball.
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Sabathia, who took a shutout into the sixth inning today against the Blue Jays, earning the win for the Yankees and upping his record to 14-5, 3.69 for the season, has been the Yankees most consistent starter after Severino. Arguably, with the six more starts he would have had if not for time spent on the DL, he could have been the AL’s only 20-game winner this season.
Here’s the thing. Sonny Gray now has two clunkers in a row. This, while the ever-enigmatic, Tanaka, followed his two clunkers with a fifteen strikeout performance yesterday, leaving Girardi scratching his head wondering what he’ll get from either pitcher if he hands them the ball for Game One.
Both Gray and Tanaka stand out because of their put-away stuff. Sabathia, on the other hand, is now what we call a finesse pitcher, who is susceptible to the home run if he misses with a pitch in the zone. The thing is, though, he’s not missing and he’s consistently delivering quality starts that give the Yankees a chance to win.
You know where I’m going with this, so let’s just get there. Sabathia is the better choice for Game One in the ALDS. He’s been there before and he’s one of the savviest pitchers in the game today.
All season long, Sabathia has been the leader in the clubhouse and, especially of the young pitchers like Jordan Montgomery, Dellin Betances, and Luis Severino, leading by example in the way he goes about the business of pitching.
The Yankees only need from Sabathia what he gave them today. Five or six solid innings that allow the Yankees to put a few runs on the board before turning the game over to the bullpen.
Sabathia can do that.