The Spectre of Sabathia’s Success

Last night CC Sabathia turned in one of his best outings of the year and who better to do it against – from a New York perspective – than the Boston Red Sox and Jon Lester.

Notching up double digit strikeouts for just the second time this season, the Yankees ace worked through 7.1 innings scattering six hits and giving up just one run. The performance reducing CC’s earned run average to 3.71 after his last outing where it had almost risen to an even 4 thanks to a pounding from another divisional rival – the Tampa Bay Rays.

Looking back at 2011 Sabathia averaged 93.9 mph on his fastball but this year it has dipped to just 90.3 mph. Last night his average increased to 92.5 mph – perhaps heralding a positive trend – but any loss of velocity is a worrying development for a workhorse pitcher who is signed through 2016.

Sabathia has only pitched less than 190 innings twice in his 12 career seasons and has exceeded 200 innings six times – are these innings totals catching up to him? The drop in velocity would perhaps suggest this, but last night he showed signs that he can adapt and pitch effectively regardless.

The Yankees – despite their injury problems – now sit just one game behind the Red Sox in the race for top spot in the AL East.

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