CC Sabathia, who was in the midst of a renaissance of a season, exited his start yesterday with a left hamstring injury.
CC Sabathia Injury Looms Large for Yanks
CC the Ace: Act 2
Fresh off a 9-12 season with a 3.91 ERA, the Yankees were not expecting too much from CC Sabathia in 2017. Yet, in the final year of his mega contract, the former ace seems to have rediscovered himself.
Sabathia made his name, and a lot of money, off his brand of skillful power pitching. This season, and for the past few, the power has faded from the lefty’s arm. However, the team is 10-3 in his starts this season, and he’s 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA.
While he’s certainly not throwing as hard as he used to, Sabathia’s sheer pitching ability has vaulted him back into the top of the team’s rotation. Location and grit have been his calling cards, rather than a high-90s fastball.
Lately, Sabathia has been on a run reminiscent of his 2009 dominance – when the team won their last World Series. He entered yesterday’s start on a personal five-game winning streak, with a sub 1.50 ERA in his last five starts.
His beginning to the season, which has him in the running for comeback player of the year, has been even more pivotal to the team when considering Masahiro Tanaka‘s mighty struggles. Over the last five turns in the Yanks rotation, Sabathia is 5-0, while Tanaka is 0-5 with an ERA over 9.00.
Who Fills in for Sabathia?
The team looked to Chad Green this past Sunday to fill in for Tanaka, so his name will almost certainly be thrown around. However, Green was held to a strict pitch count of 50, so it would be rather surprising if the team backtracked from that and made him start a full game.
Furthermore, with Aroldis Chapman on the mend, the team could attempt to stretch out Adam Warren to help take more of a platoon approach to the spot. Warren and Green could give the team about five innings combined, or more, if Girardi and Brian Cashman don’t feel that one of the two men can single-handedly fill Sabathia’s shoes.
Chasen Shreve, the team’s lone left-handed reliever, will almost definitely not be thrust into the starting rotation as a result of this injury. The team outrighted struggling lefty Tommy Layne to Triple-A recently, showing that the organization’s confidence in him has faded. Leaving the pen without a reliable left-handed pitcher – or recalling a shaky Layne – would be less than desirable.
Domingo German, the young righty who was initially called up to start for Tanaka, is a possibility, either as a replacement long reliever or as a temporary starter. It was quite impressive that German, who was pitching in Double-A Trenton last week, was able to come up on short notice and pitch fairly well in relief on Sunday.
The hot option would be the highly-touted prospect Chance Adams, who has pitched to the tune of a 1.78 ERA and a 7-2 record in 12 starts in Double- and Triple-A. Adams will likely see major league action at some point this season, whether it be to temporarily fill Sabathia’s spot – or Tanaka’s if he can’t right the ship – or to come out of the bullpen during September call-ups.
The team will be holding out hope that this injury won’t derail the aging lefty’s swansong; the team will truly need him back as soon as possible. Sabathia has played the role of stopper multiple times this season. His veteran consistency, while perplexing as a whole, has been a balancing force for this team of young guns.