I believe I’ve officially run out of things to say about CC Sabathia. He’s won seven starts in a row, and he hasn’t allowed more than one run in a start since mid-June. He was outstanding this afternoon, but then again, that’s nothing new. I’m out of things to say about him, so let’s try this:
What Joe Girardi said: “His slider was good today. I thought all his stuff was good. His velocity was great. His changeup was very good. He just knows how to pitch, and he gets outs, and he throws quality strikes… He doesn’t put too much pressure on himself and realizes it’s just one start, and he can only go out and do what he’s going to do. He can’t do anything for anyone else. And he’s just able to relax.”
What Mark Teixeira said: “When you expect a guy to throw a shutout every time out there, that’s pretty impressive. They scratched that one run across early, but after that, he was absolutely dominant. The last three months, there hasn’t been a guy better in baseball… There’s not many aces out there that can do that. Every good team needs one. We haven’t played well; the first two games after the break, we got our butts kicked. You need a guy like CC to step up and stop that momentum. This is a good team across the way and CC really stopped their momentum.”
What Brett Gardner said: “I’m in a good spot. I’ve got a good view of what’s going on. Watching him for eight innings and watching Mariano for one inning, it’s pretty special. He just hits his spots. Wherever Cervy is setup, he pretty much hits the glove every time. Doesn’t matter if it’s his fastball or slider or changeup, he does a good job of keeping guys off balance. He’s great. He is every time. You guys keep asking me how he is, and it seems like every time I tell you the same thing. He’s just dominant.”
What the numbers say: A first-inning run snapped his scoreless innings streak at 24, a career-long for Sabathia and the longest such streak for a Yankees starter since Tom Underwood in May of 1980… Has won seven straight starts, one shy of the longest such winning streak of his career… Beyond the seven straight wins, Sabathia has also won 11 of his past 12 starts. He leads the Majors with 14 wins, and his ERA is down to 2.64.
What Sabathia said: “The fastball command got better. I had runners on early because I didn’t have it, but I throw everything off of that. I stuck with it and it ended up being a good start… I always look forward to getting the ball, but things have been going pretty good. The guys have been scoring a lot of runs, Cervy and Russ have been catching great games, so I’m just looking forward to the next one.”
Let’s go with Teixeira’s audio for today. He talked about Sabathia’s hot streak and his own cold streak.
• Big game from Gardner, who now has the second-highest batting average of all the players in the Yankees everyday lineup. He’s up to .279 after going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles this afternoon. He’s had three hits in two of his past three games, and both of those three-hit games came against left-handed starters. “Lefty, righty, it’s all the same to me,” Gardner said.
• Gardner almost single-handedly generated a run by hustling to second on that bloop to center field in the fourth inning. “Really out of the box I was running hard and probably halfway up first base once I figured the second baseman wasn’t going to catch it,” Gardner said. “With that turf, it’s going to take a big hop. You see it all throughout the game. Jeet made a great play in maybe the eighth inning on Rajai Davis. Even balls on the infield, ground balls take big hops and you try to take advantage of it.”
• Gardner is hot. Teixeira is cold. His batting average is down to .240 with four hits in his past seven games. “Before the break, I didn’t feel good at all,” he said. “I think a little fatigue set in, but those three days really helped. It’s just a matter of me getting my timing back,.”
• Of course, the low batting average comes with team-highs in home runs and RBIs. He’s second in walks and still has a .345 on-base percentage. “I feel like I’m hitting the ball hard a lot,” Teixeira said. “I’m hitting a lot of home runs — that’s what I do. I feel good when I hit those home runs, but those extra hits just aren’t coming. I’ve said it all year long, I’m really just hoping for those extra hits to come. They haven’t so far.”
• After that rocky first inning, Larry Rothschild told Sabathia to make sure he stayed over the rubber a little longer. He was rushing through the little pause in his mechanics. “It’s easier to do the older you get,” Sabathia said. “If I was a younger guy, sometimes it’s tough. But I’ve been there; this is my 11th or 12th year, so I’m able to go out and correct things as the game goes on.”
• Sabathia on precautions to keep the Blue Jays from stealing signs: “Me and Cervy talked about it before the game just used a different set than we normally use with a runner on second. I don’t think it’s something you can really do anything about. We don’t know what’s going on, if they are or if they aren’t, so just go out and try to pitch.”
• Girardi said Sabathia would have gone out for the eighth inning regardless of his bullpen situation. The fact the pen was used a lot the previous two days had no impact on his decision to keep Sabathia out there.
• Mariano Rivera got his 23rd save… Gardner stole his 24th base… Nick Swisher had his 18th double… Eduardo Nunez made his 12th error… Nunez also had his 16th RBI, half of which have either tied a game or given the Yankees a lead.
• Derek Jeter had two hits and moved into a tie with Al Kaline for 26th place on baseball’s all-time hits list with 3,007.
• Gardner in his career against Ricky Romero: 7-for-14 with three doubles, one home run, four RBI and four walks.
• For the third time this season, the Yankees have gone four straight games without allowing a home run. Their longest such stretch of the season is six games.
• Swisher got into a brief discussion with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor, and Girardi wound up coming out of the dugout to have a conversation of his own. Girardi said he came out to cool down the situation because guys on the bench were barking as well. “I wanted to make sure, let’s worry about the game and not throw anyone out,” Girardi said. “I’ll take care of it.”
• A final word goes to Girardi: “To not win for a week, that’s what it felt like because we didn’t play for three days. You need a win, so CC went out and got it for us.”
Associated Press photos