Nick Juliano is still getting set up on the blog due to my general laziness. Here’s his thoughts on the big pitcher who looks like he’s wearing pajamas for a uniform:
CC Sabathia provided the type of start the Yankees needed after a tough loss on Tuesday night. This season has been an intriguing one for the AL East, and across other divisions in baseball as well, with contenders emerging in places some may have thought October baseball to be unlikely. Well, everyone will play October baseball this year, some for three days, others hoping to make their stays in October extensive while they have the opportunity to play in the postseason.
Sabathia threw eight strong innings and the Yankees put together a six-run third inning to seal an 8-2 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Wednesday. Currently the Yankees find themselves two games up over the Orioles in the AL East with seven games remaining in the regular season. The Yankees will begin a four-game set in Toronto on Thursday before returning home to wrap up the regular season with three games against the Red Sox. The Yankees have now won six consecutive regular season series against the Twins. This win was their 90th of the season, marking the 11th time in the last 12 seasons the Yankees have achieved at least 90 victories.
The big fellas’ pitching line for the day ended with six hits scattered over eight innings, giving up two runs and a walk while striking out 10 hitters. CC had lost his last 3 starts, winning for the first time since August 24th in a game at Progressive Field against his former team, the Cleveland Indians. In his last two starts combined, he has struck out a combined 21 batters. During the Yankees’ scoring outburst in the 3rd, they strung together 5 hits and 8 of their starting hitters, less Raul Ibanez, made it on base in the inning.
Sabathia felt that he had strong command of his fastball as he caught several hitters looking on it as he rang them up for strikeouts. CC has had a string of recent success against Minnesota in the regular and postseasons. He is 10-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last 11 starts against the Twins. Target Field is a tough place to hit a home run, and the Yankees didn’t score any of their runs with any round-trippers. In the first two games of the series, the Yankees needed 7 home runs to score 9 of the 10 runs they put up.
Chris Dickerson and Ichiro Suzuki began the rally for New York in the 3rd, putting together back-to-back singles with one out. Derek Jeter walked, which loaded the bases for Robinson Cano. Cano gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead with a two-run double to right field. Nick Swisher followed up with an RBI single of his own, and then came around to score on a Curtis Granderson triple, his fourth of the season. Granderson proceeded to score on a wild pitch which resulted in a walk to Eric Chavez. Raul Ibanez grounded out before Twins starter Brian Duensing was relieved by Anthony Swarzak out of the bullpen. Chris Stewart walked before Swarzak struck out Dickerson to end the inning with the Yankees leading 6-1.
Derek Jeter’s hitting streak was snapped at 19 games with an 0-for-4, but Ichiro added 2 hits to extend his streak to 10 games. Swisher has hits in his last nine games. The Yankees’ magic number to clinch the AL East is 6.