Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cringing at Sabathia's attempted barehand plays

The Yankees need to talk to C.C. Sabathia about barehanding balls hit back at the mound. He was extraordinarily good again tonight in Cleveland, allowing three runs in seven innings while striking out eight. But twice during the game, he reached for batted balls hit at him with his pitching hand. The last thing the newly-gelled Yankees need is a silly injury to their ace.

Sabathia is pitching like himself now, though. Over his last five starts Sabathia is 4-0, bringing his record to 5-3. Over that stretch, he has gone 39 innings, allowing nine runs (2.08 ERA) while striking out 32. He has allowed 26 hits and nine walks in those starts for a WHIP of 0.90. His ERA for the season now stands at 3.46, and he has 56 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched. He has started to appear in the top-10 of many of the American League pitching categories.

That is why it is so alarming to see C.C. trying to grab the ball with those valuable fingers. The first time he went for the ball, he was 4.1 innings into no-hitting his old team, so I understand the impulse to preserve the game. But the second time, it appeared that he was simply frustrated because he had run into a little trouble. Joe Girardi needs to tell him that it is best for the team if Sabathia uses his glove or lets his infielders go for the ball.

Besides that snipe, the Yanks are looking pretty solid at 29-20. They sit 1.5 games up on the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays atop the AL East leader board. They are two games up in the loss column on Boston, and three games up on Toronto.

GAME NOTES 5/31...Jorge Posada homered in the Yankees 10-5 victory over Cleveland, and looked comfortable at the plate for the second straight day since he came off the disabled list...Nick Swisher also hit a long home run to center field, putting his season total at 10...Jose Veras gave up two runs in an inning of relief, pushing his season ERA to 6.97. He threw 14 strikes out of his 23 pitches and gave up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo. Veras continues not to look like the confident late inning reliever he was last year. The Yankees have to hope that Alfredo Aceves is truly an answer for them at setup man...Michael Kay said that the Yankees were unlikely to keep three catchers when Jose Molina returns to the club shortly. That spells an end to Francisco Cervelli's productive stint with the club. The kid definitely earned a closer look in the coming seasons.

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