Sabathia Roughed Up In Yankees Debut
The struggles that ensued for C.C. Sabathia and the New York Yankees in their season-opening 10-5 thrashing at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles understandably has the internet buzzing. Sabathia is, as he inevitably was going to be, a target of ridicule. Deadspin has already declared the Yankees’ season over. The New York Daily News’ Bill Madden is in a mini-panic mode. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman is highly critical of both Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. And Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated notes the pressure on Sabathia to perform in one of baseball’s biggest markets for the biggest contract ever awarded to a pitcher. Of course, it would only take an immense struggle for Sabathia to set off another media shitstorm. A typically great outing would have been too boring.
This was inevitable. If Sabathia didn’t pitch a gem there would be people all over him from the get-go. He’d better figure it out quickly, because if he starts 2009 like he did 2008 (1-3, 13.50 ERA in his first four starts), and Teixeira has his trademark slow April (.256 career March/April hitter), the Bronx could be entering Defcon 4 by May 1.
But what Yankee fans need to realize- if they don’t already- that this is not the real C.C. Sabathia. His velocity and command were both down from their norms against the Orioles, and this will probably be the only start all season where he fails to record a strikeout. If Sabathia makes over 30 starts, he can be penciled in for at least 15 wins. And if he figures it out quicker than he did last season, he could have even better ERA and strikeout totals.
For those who haven’t seen the highlights of yesterday’s shellacking, here it is:
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