Regardless of what happened in that at-bat, Kelly Shoppach was going to be CC Sabathia’s last hitter this afternoon. When Shoppach singled with two outs in the eight, it broke up a no-hitter on Sabathia’a 111th pitch of the game.
“Shoppach was his last hitter no matter what,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He did not know that going out, but he knows now. I told him when he came out because, big picture. It’s not something you want to do, but you have to think big picture. I told Dave (Eiland), 110 to 115, that was it.”
Sabathia might have disagreed.
“It makes it easy now,” he said. “But we would have been fighting out there on the mound. I felt good, but I understand where he’s coming from too.”
In the end, there was no decision to make. Sabathia said he knew as soon as Shoppach looped that ball to left field that his day was done. He and Shoppach are old friends from their days with Cleveland, and Sabathia left a two-seamer up in the zone to a guy who likes to swing at fastballs.
“That was as good as I’ve seen him,” Shoppach said. “He did not make a mistake with his changeup all day. He had the extra velocity up in the zone when he needed it. Man, he was throwing strikes and getting ahead.”
Had Shoppach not gotten that hit, we might be having a very interesting and dare I say spirited debate right now.
“You have to look at the big picture and not the small one, get caught up in everything that’s going on out there,” Eiland said. “That’s our job to make those tough calls. It’s for the betterment of him and the betterment of the team. CC would have fought us on it, but he would have understood. I think anyone with any baseball sense would have understood.”
Here’s Sabathia talking about his outstanding second start of the year.
Photos from The Associated Press.