Sabathia Solid in Return from DL
Anytime a team gets swept late in the season it’s going to seem worse than it really is. The Yankees were in Chicago and threw Freddy Garcia and an apparently injured Ivan Nova in the first two games. Neither one found a way to win. New York countered with Phil Hughes who could not beat an outstanding Chris Sale in the finale.
We all know the downside because we’ve had 48 hours to process it. The lead in the division shrunk to 2.5 games, the bullpen has been struggling, the Yankees lost to a potential playoff team, they blew leads, they’re 11-9 in their last 20 games.
But Baseball is a funny sport. Each game matters less than all of the other professional sports and yet sometimes one day can make all the difference.
New York has to take a series from Cleveland and preferably sweep the Indians. The Tribe entered this series on an eight game losing streak in which they had lead for just four combined innings. The Yankees entered this series on a hot streak until they flew to the midwest.
In one game, the Yankees beat Cleveland 3-1 (and the bullpen did not surrender a run) sending the Indians to its ninth consecutive loss, CC Sabathia returned to the mound and threw 7.1 innings giving up just four hits, one run and recorded nine strikeouts, Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte successfully continued their respective healing processes, the Rays lost and the direction of the entire enemy Red Sox franchise might be on the verge of changing.
One game, one night, one day, in Major League Baseball.
Sabathia was dominant, which may end up being the biggest observation of the night. The Indians are not a great lineup but just being healthy enough to retire 22 batters was encouraging for the Yankees to see out of its ace. With Hiroki Kuroda and Freddy Garcia throwing the next two nights, the Yankees’ floor should be winning the series with a legitimate chance to sweep when the latter faces the struggling Ubaldo Jimenez.
There were still wrinkles. New York stranded a ton of runners early, failing to get the big hit against Indians’ rookie, Corey Kluber.
Rafael Soriano loaded the bases before ending the game, the offense scored just three runs (two on the long ball by Nick Swisher) and a first place team had to sweat out a victory against a ball club fading faster than any other.
Still, it’s a game in the standings over the Rays, a step in the right direction, the return of an ace and the Yankees’ moving one step closer to an important division title and getting healthy in time for the playoffs.
This win is something to savor for a team which just suffered a rough weekend.
At least until tomorrow night.