It is September, and it is do or die time for the New York Yankees as the final chapter of the season is currently being written. This season, the Yankees have been a roller coaster of a team, drawing on a mix bag of players to perform, whether it be at the plate or on the mound.
Each month, the Yankees have thrived off a different player to stay at some level of consistency, as they are trying to maintain a push in contested American League Wild Card race and pose as some sort of threat to the first place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
One month it has been Brett Gardner stepping up at the plate, next month it is Hiroki Kuroda stepping up on the mound. This month? It needs to be CC Sabathia, a pillar of pitching consistency for the team on the last few years who has been stuck in a mediocre season so far.
2013 has not in any way been a kind one for CC Sabathia. It has been one of the worst seasons in his thirteen year career so far, with the exception of his rookie and sophomore seasons. His earned run average is at a career high of 4.86, one of the highest on the Yankees’ starting rotation, with the exception of Phil Hughes, who has the same earned run average as Sabathia.
Sabathia’s ERA is at its highest, as is his hits per nine innings and home runs per nine innings, all while losing velocity on a fastball that has typically been in the mid-nineties. His average fastball velocity is around 90-91 mph. Last season, it was around 92-93 He has shown the consistency that he has maintained over the course of his career, let alone the consistency that he has shown since joining the Yankees. It has more or less been a long season of mediocrity.
So why now?
Well the most obvious answer is that the Yankees need all hands on deck now for their push towards a wild card spot, and for an attempted, albeit too late run against Boston. Aside from this, Sabathia needs to show once again that he is still at least a consistent starter for the team, which is more important than being the ace of the staff.
Consistency has a special emphasis for pitching this season for the Yankees, as at times it has been lacking, and now it seems that the most consist pitcher for New York, Kuroda has hit a rough patch at this point in the season with several poor starts to close out the month of August. It is also, that the Yankees need a solid one-two tandem in the starting rotation to thrive one, and as of now it is Ivan Nova providing solid outing, leaving a spot open that was once occupied by Kuroda for the other position in the tandem.
Sabathia’s performance in this month, is important. He has been an anchor in the rotation for some time, and it is now more than ever that the Yankees need him to come back to form for this month. There is a lot riding on the club to make a push for the playoffs and the Yankees need that extra piece from their pitching to get them over the hill.
That piece must be Sabathia, while his season has been mediocre to say the least, he has the opportunity to regain something. He doesn’t have to do what he did for Milwaukee in 2008, but he just needs to be a consistent piece that the Yankees can call on for these games down the stretch in September.