One of my favorite aspects of this year’s edition of the New York Yankees has been the consistent presence of speed throughout the lineup. Sure, there are lots of old knees around, but with players like Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner, along with Eduardo Nuñez out there recently, the team sure is fun to watch. On Sunday afternoon we saw this when Gardner roped a three-run triple into the right field corner against the Orioles. Nuñez scored easily from first, and Gardner arrived at third standing up, and the Yankees had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
On Monday night in Chicago, Gardner picked up right where he had left off. He led off the game by pounding a ball into the dirt and beating everyone to first base for an infield single. A few pitches later Gardner took off on a 2-1 count as Granderson shot a line drive down the right field line. It never occurred to me that Gardner would be able to score on the play, but not only did he score, he scored easily. He slowed up at second to make sure the ball had gotten through the infield, then shifted into high gear. He hit the bag at third at top speed, then glanced out towards the outfield and broke it down. He coasted the last forty-five feet. Two batters later Robinson Canó stroked a single to right and Granderson scored to make it 2-0.
Have you heard of CC Sabathia? He attacked the White Sox with cold-hearted efficiency, dispatching them on eight pitches in the first, six in the second, and eleven in the third. There was a blip in the fourth — a Juan Pierre single followed by an Alexei Ramírez home run — but not much else.
The Yankee hitters weren’t doing much against Jay Peavy — after those two runs in the first they were able to scrape out only one more run on a Robby Canó double play — but Sabathia made it stand up. He finished up in style, striking out two in the eighth, including poor Adam Dunn for the final out.
Keeping with the efficiency theme, the Great One came on for an uneventful ninth, throwing nine pitches for nine strikes. Yankees 3, White Sox 2.
So here’s my question. What if CC just keeps on winning? Taking a look at the calendar, he’s got five more starts in August and another five in September. Based on how he’s been going this year, it probably isn’t a stretch to imagine eight wins for him over the final two months. So what if he finishes the season with something like this: 24-6, 250 Ks, 2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP. You don’t think they could give the Cy Young to anyone else? Could they?
[Photo Credit: Charles Cherney/AP]