The dreaded one-game Wild-card might be 50 days away, but it is time for the Yankees to start asking the question, which pitcher gets the start?
As of August 15th, the answer is simple for me, it’s CC Sabathia.
Since the beginning of the 2017 season, CC has surrendered three-plus runs in just 17 of his 49 starts (35%). The next best Yankee pitcher during that time frame is Luis Severino, who has surrendered three-plus runs in 19 of his 42 starts (45%).
Furthermore, in last years postseason, Carsten Charles allowed just five earned runs in 19 innings while striking out 19 batters. Sure, Sabathia never went deeper than six innings in those four postseasons, but did he need to?
No, he did not. The Yankees have invested in a bullpen which for a second consecutive year is arguably the best in all of Major League Baseball. The best way to utilize this bullpen is to piggyback off a starting pitcher who has learned how to “pitch” as he has become older in age. This season, opponents are hitting just .156 with RISP vs CC Sabathia. It is safe to say that is the type of pitcher the Yankees need in battle come the wildcard game.
A do or die game doesn’t necessarily call for the upside of a dominant Luis Severino or Masahiro Tanaka. Instead, it calls for a guy with experience in the big moment, a guy who wants the ball more than anyone else, and a guy who will show raw emotion on the mound in which others will feed off of.
So think about it, it’s October 3, a misty 55 degrees in the Bronx, do or die, and you have to hand the ball to one person to set the tone.
That person has to be CC Sabathia.