Yankees Sweep Sox
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 5- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he needed the ace CC Sabathia to go deep into the game Wednesday night in the Bronx against the Chicago White Sox. If New York has any hopes of continuing their September run for an AL wild card spot, and baseball to be played in October, they need Sabathia to give them innings on the mound.
“He gave us distance,” commented Girardi about his ace after the Yankees 6-5 win and three-game sweep over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Sabathia (13-11) allowed three runs in 7.1 innings on five hits. He walked and struck out four. It was his longest outing since August 7th at Chicago, and he remained undefeated in seven career starts against the White Sox. It was not dominating, but an outing Sabathia was looking for.
And the Yankees were certainly content with the outing by their ace who has struggled. Winning the fourth time in his last five starts, Sabathia had overall good command of his fastball and this may have been his best outing of the five.
More importantly, for Sabathia, winning games again has come at the right time as the Yankees have put themselves in the hunt for a post season wild card spot in the American league.
The Yankees improved to 5-1 on their current 10-game home stand, and are 11-games over .500 for the first time since June 9th as they await a crucial four-game series with first place Boston that begins in the Bronx Thursday night.
And the Yankees are aware of the task ahead.
“It’s extremely important, it’s a tough series,” commented Girardi.
The four games will not determine first place in the AL east. New York trailed Boston by eight games in the division starting play Wednesday night, and any significant amount of losses with 23 games remaining could end hopes of a wild card spot.
Sabathia got off to another shaky start in the first inning as the White Sox took the early 1-0 lead. Avisail Garcia doubled to right that scored Gordon Beckham who singled. It was the 18th time in 29 starts this season that Sabathia has allowed the first run in a game.
“It feels good especially the way I have been battling and helping the team win,” said Sabathia about the win. He said about that the first inning, “Did not have the command but made the pitches he needed to.” The pitches he needed caused the White Sox to not score another run until Sabathia was lifted in the eighth inning.
Over the years though, the White Sox are one of the teams that Sabathia has handled well on the mound. He improved to 19-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 33 career rtlitng and starts against them, the highest career winning percentage against Chicago among active American League pitchers.
Robinson Cano, 3-for-4 got the run back for Sabathia with a first inning home run, his 26th of the season that went deep to left. The 203rd of his career surpassed Bill Dickey for sole possession of 15th place on the Yankees’ all-time home run list. A Brett Gardner two-run triple, seventh extra base hit in his last eight at bats, in the fourth, added to the lead 4-1.
After giving up three hits going into the eighth inning, Sabathia gave up consecutive hits with one out. After 111- pitches he was lifted for David Robertson. The White Sox would get to Robertson who allowed four runs, two inherited from Sabathia, including a two-run single to Josh Phegley, and a hit to Marcus Semien that cut the Yankees lead to 6-5.
”I stunk out there today,” said Robertson who has been reliable with an ERA of 1.88.
Robertson would leave with two outs as Girardi went to Mariano Rivera with the tying run at second. The all-time saves leader got Alejandro De Aza looking at a 90-mile cutter to end the inning. It would turn out to be a four-out save for Rivera as he retired all three batters in the ninth.
It was Rivera’s first four-out save since July 24, 2011 against the Oakland A’s, and 41st of the season.
“We are still fighting,” said Rivera about the urgency of rescuing Robertson and the Yankees playoff push.
Now it’s the Red Sox and another series of important baseball games being played in September, a total of 11-games also with Baltimore that will in all probability decide if the Yankees make it to October.