Yankees C.C. Sabathia's Resurrection | Bonehead Picks

C.C. Sabathia’s Resurrection

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It’s crazy that at the end of last season Sabathia checked himself into rehab for alcoholism, and yet he’s been arguably the Yankees’ best starter in 2016. The Yankees have put together a nice little run of late, largely thanks to some improved hitting, but also because of Sabathia.

Back in 2009 when C.C. was acquired by the Bombers, he was the ace of the staff. When the Yankees needed a win, Sabathia was their guy. His mid-high 90’s heater combined with a nasty change and slider would more often than not silence other offenses. Combined with having Mariano Rivera to close out games, the Yankees almost had a surefire win when C.C. toed the rubber. That’s why in the playoffs that season the Yankees often went with a three-man rotation and got Sabathia and Pettitte out there as much as possible.

This pattern continued until all the wear and tear started to catch up to the big lefty. The combination of bone chips in his elbow, bad knees, and weight fluctuation all broke up the rhythm he’d established in years past. He’d become an innings eater, who would provide pedestrian stats while serving out the rest of his contract with the team.

Whatever demons Sabathia exorcised in his rehab stint seem to have taken his pitching woes with them. Sabathia looks reinvigorated and has been remarkable of late. He’s put together seven straight quality starts, and hasn’t allowed a run over his last 12 innings pitched. His last four matchups have included Toronto twice, Baltimore and Detroit, so he’s not facing weak teams.

Since May 1st, C.C. actually has the best ERA in baseball. Let that sink in for a second. Sabathia, who is almost 36, has a lower ERA than Clayton Kershaw in that span. What?! So what’s behind this crazy resurgence?

The answer really is just that it looks like Sabathia has adjusted to his current skillset and has become that crafty veteran. He won’t blow you away anymore, but he can certainly keep you off-balance. Changing speeds, and locating well have all helped C.C., but the biggest change has been the addition of a cutter. Being able to get in on hitters has been huge for him as he can generate weak contact and get himself out of jams.

One has to assume that this is a matter of when, not if, Sabathia will regress. I’m going to be optimistic though. Yeah he might not have a sub three ERA all season, but what if he does? The Yankees will consider that a massive win if they get that from their fifth starter. Plus it goes to show, you don’t always need a 100 mph heater to be a good pitcher. Here’s hoping that C.C. can keep up this renaissance.

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