It’s June, so we can stop worrying about CC Sabathia. The Yankees were 2-4 when he took the mound in May, but they’ve won all four of his June starts as CC has posted a fairly imposing line: 29 IP, 21 H, 8 R, 7 BB, 22 K, 2.48 ERA, 0.97 WHIP. A week after beating Roy Halladay (who pitches as if having returned to Krypton when he faces the American League), Sabathia faced and defeated another ace, the Mets’ Johan Santana. During his eight scoreless innings, Sabathia allowed six base runners, only four of whom made it to second base. It might not make sense to say that he wasn’t dominant, but he was pretty close.
The Yankee offense was able to do just enough against Santana to secure Sabathia’s eighth win. Scanning the box score, you might notice a third-inning explosion, but here’s what really happened. Brett Gardner led off by slicing a single to left (and really, it’s only a matter of time before Michael Kay begins describing hits like this as “Gardnerian”), and Jeter followed with a dribbler to the left side that David Wright was unable to handle cleanly. Nick Swisher then dropped a beautiful push bunt towards second and was able to reach safely, loading the bases for Mark Teixeira.
Normally, this is a great situation. Bases loaded, nobody out, the three and four hitters due up. The problem, though, is that right now I have absolutely no confidence in either Teixeira or Alex Rodríguez, and I braced myself for the worst. Watching live as Teixeira took a ball and then a strike, I figured he would probably just strike out. My next thought, though, was this: “He’s probably gonna hit a grand slam just to piss me off.” And then he deposited the next pitch into the left field stands. I can’t explain why it pissed me off, it just did.
But that was all the Yanks needed, as the 4-0 lead held up. First place feels good.