SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia scattered 10 hits and two walks in six innings against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, and fans of the Yankees must be thrilled to have "scattered" back in the vocabulary. Sabathia has now allowed 43 hits and 12 walks in 31 innings against the Red Sox this season, but 10 strikeouts helped ensure the runners didn't haunt him this time. So is all right with the world of Sabathia?


Was it a statement win?

Sabathia has a Cy Young, he's carried teams on his back and he's dominated every team except the Red Sox this season. But did he have something to prove Tuesday?

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Did Joe Girardi make the right call?

Sabathia had already thrown 109 pitches after five innings, but Girardi sent him back out to protect a 4-2 lead. Was it the right call?

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Bigger mountains to climb?

Did the Yankees get the one win they needed by getting Sabathia over the hump, or would A.J. Burnett shining tonight be a bigger deal?

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CC Sabathia was as good as he needed to be in Monday night's game against the White Sox, allowing 10 hits but going eight innings in a 3-2 win. He now leads the league with 16 wins, one better than Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who is 10 games above .500 on a first-place team that is just six games above .500 overall. Just how valuable are these aces?


How do you define valuable?

The last AL pitcher to win MVP honors was Dennis Eckersley in 1992. The last starting pitcher to do it was Roger Clemens in 1986.

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Is it a matter of qualification?

There are several different schools of thought when it comes to pitchers and their place in the MVP debate, which probably explains why they win so infrequently.

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Who is closest to a one-man team?

The Tigers are a losing team in games in which Verlander doesn't register a decision, but given the strength of competition in the AL East, is Sabathia even more important to the Yankees?

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How about the other award?

No Yankees pitcher has captured the Cy Young since 2001 (although Sabathia won with the Indians in 2007). It's an even longer wait for the Tigers, who last produced a winner in 1984

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Now that we have a few days to catch our breath before the start of baseball's postseason (and thanks to the Padres for that), what are we to make of the teams still worrying about pitching rotations? Well, for the most part, SportsNation isn't exactly shocked by the playoff field.

Five of the eight active teams were ranked in SportsNation's top 10 on Opening Day, and the Giants were knocking on the door at No. 11. Only the Rangers (No. 16) and Reds (No. 23) really came out of nowhere.

But if either the Rangers or Reds are going to keep surprising, Cliff Lee and Edinson Volquez will likely need to break out their best Don Larsen impersonation. Lee rebounded from a weak August to dominate three of his final four starts, while Volquez missed the first half of the season but gets the first postseason start for the Reds after posting a 1.95 ERA in September. It's the time of year for aces to shine, but which teams have the best arms?

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On Aug. 28, CC Sabathia gave up nine hits and five earned runs, including two home runs, in seven innings yet picked up a win against the White Sox. On Sept. 23, Felix Hernandez gave up two hits and one earned run in eight innings and took a loss against the Blue Jays. Who pitched better?

All right, it's a loaded question. Many people would point out Sabathia's start came with the Yankees locked in a tight AL East race and against a White Sox team still in contention at the time. Hernandez, on the other hand, was pitching in front of 12,000 fans wishing it was hockey season in Toronto. Others would answer that five is still five times as many as one.

Still others, namely David Price, would cough loudly and glance at the AL East standings and then at his own stat line ... and then back at the standings.

So a day after Sabathia, Hernandez and Price all won games, who should win the AL Cy Young? We posed the question in a number of ways, listing just the players, the players and their stats and just their stats. In all three cases, Sabathia got the nod.

M@ (Hattiesburg, MS)

As wide open as the AL CY Young race is, I haven't heard Jon Lester mentioned once, even though his numbers are better than C.C.'s. across the board, an equal to Felix. For instance, opponents hit .243 off CC, .213 against Felix and .214 against Lester. Did his flirtation with a no-hitter against the Yankees Saturday put him on the map, finally? Who would you give the CY to?

Joe Morgan (before Hernandez and Sabathia's wins Tuesday)
Joe Morgan

I think he's always been in the race in my mind. I like what Felix Hernandez has done, but he has won only 12 games. People say that he doesn't get support from his teamamtes, but guess what, every award is a team award. You can't win the MVP without your teammates. Do we look at an MVP candidate and say his team didn't give him a chance to drive in runs? The fact is that Felix has won 12 games and CC has won 20. It is harder to win in a championship environment in New York than in Felix's situation. Just look at AJ Burnett this year. Felix has done a good job this year, but he's not in the same difficulty level of pitching this year as CC. Full transcript

Scott (Boston, MA)

Whats your take on the AL CY Young race? Should it go to the guy with the best pitching stats (Felix Hernandez) or the guy with the most wins (CC) or the guy with the closest combination of both (Jon Lester)?

Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan

That's a good question. I would also like to consider the impact that pitcher had on his team being competitive in a pennant race. I don't know who I'd pick. Full transcript

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This season has been a bit of a snoozer for the Seattle Mariners, and yes, that's a bad Ken Griffey Jr. joke. A chic sleeper pick to win the AL West before the season, the Mariners have instead been outscored by 143 runs and still have some work to do to steer clear of 100 losses. But that may not stop the team from being in the middle of one of September's hottest races.

Felix Hernandez is only 11-10 this season, but is there something to be said for being a game better than .500 for a team that is collectively 30 games worse than that mark? Hernandez also leads the AL in strikeouts and ranks second in ERA, but if SportsNation's votes are any indication, he has some work to do in the Cy Young race.

Mike (New York)

I cannot buy into King Felix being a lock for the CY young. Since when wins did not mean much? Shouldn't it be taken into consideration which pitcher provided the most wins for their team when started. Doesn't wins, more or less, play into a pitcher's chances in the hall of fame?

Jayson Stark
Jayson Stark

Thanks for getting into this, Mike. I'm not one of those people who says, unequivocally, that wins are meaningless. Are they an overrated stat in this day and age? Yes. But meaningless? No. So I'm not willing to just trash the win column, like a lot of people are, come Cy Young time. But I also believe the Cy Young is a performance award: Who has pitched the best? And it's tough to ignore the difference between how good CC's team is and how good Felix's team is, especially offensively. Felix beats CC in pretty much every category except wins, and beats him convincingly in ERA and WHIP. So let's see how this turns out. But as much as I admire and respect CC, I don't think he has pitched better than Felix Hernandez this year. Transcript

Steve (Middletown, CT)

Does Felix Hernandez have any shot at winning the Cy Young award? Other than win-loss record all his numbers are better than Sabathia and if he played for any other team he'd probably be the one with 18 wins. Thoughts?

Jerry Crasnick
Jerry Crasnick

Steve, In past years I would have said no, but Felix's numbers are so staggeringly good, he might have a shot. The voters showed last year that they're willing to put W-L totals aside and focus on the other numbers. That said, Sabathia is 18-5 and Felix is 10-10. That's a pretty big gap. Transcript

Tito (Brooklyn)

Do you think CC Sabathia is the frontrunner for the AL CY Young award right now?

Joe Morgan
Joe Morgan

I've always said that but everyone seems to think that his numbers don't matter because he pitches for the Yankees. All CC has done is continue to win, while others were talking about Cliff Lee being the best pitcher in the AL. Right now we have many different ways to look at how a pitcher is performing, but the name of the game is to win. I feel that he should be the Cy Young Award winner because he's the only one carrying the Yankees rotation right now. But there's something about the Yankees that people don't want to give him credit for. I'm amazed that Mark Teixeira and Jeter did not get a first place vote for MVP last year. Transcript

Bill (Seattle)

Felix Hernandez probably should get some Cy Young votes given his numbers, but that Win-Loss record is going to kill him isn't it?

Keith Law
Keith Law

Probably, although the voters did get it right with Greinke last year. The voting pool on each award is different each year, so you never really know until the results are out. Transcript

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