With rain falling at the Stadium and washing out the last three innings of the Yankees’ 5-1 win, Joe Girardi never had the chance to lift CC Sabathia. But if you listen to the main men in the Yankee clubhouse, the big lefty may have pitched even better tonight than last Saturday’s 7 2/3 no-hit innings against the Rays.
“That’s about as good as we’ve seen him,” Girardi said. “Seventy-three pitches and 58 strikes? It seemed like his first 10 or 12 pitches were all strikes. He was outstanding tonight.”
Throw out a couple questionable hits in the first inning and CC could’ve delivered another no-hitter at least into the fifth, when Joaquin Arias looped a single to center. Sabathia was outstanding from the moment Vladimir Guerrero flew out to center to score Michael Young in the first inning right until Guerrero flew out to right to end Texas’ half of the sixth.
Sabathia retired 11 straight Rangers at one point, including six straight by strikeout. He struck out nine total and didn’t issue a walk.
I asked Francisco Cervelli — catching CC for the second straight game — whether he was as good tonight as he was last week.
“I think he pitched better today,” Cervelli said. “He was throwing nasty pitches today.”
Although there wasn’t enough time or space to delve into it for tomorrow’s paper, the blossoming relationship between the two batterymates is an interesting one. As I said on Twitter before the game, Cervelli feels like Sabathia treats him as an equal. “Since Day 1, he’s open with me. He always tells me, ‘Call the game, I’ll follow you,'” Cervelli said. “He never treats me like a rookie, you know. He treats me like a veteran catcher.”
And that was before the game. Afterward, he joked about how easy catching came to him tonight. “He did everything,” Cervelli said. “I put the glove there and that’s it.”
Sabathia enjoys pitching to Cervelli because they have a constant flow of communication, whether he has the ball that night or not.
“We talk a lot. We do a lot of talking, even when he’s not playing and I’m not pitching,” Sabathia said. “We talk about what we would throw here, and different things like that. I think our communication is great and that’s why we work so well together.”
I’ll have more postgame notes in a bit. First, here’s CC on CC, how the Rangers helped him pitch so well tonight and how he and Cervelli work so well together: