2009: Performing under the pressure of playing for the Yankees is undeniably one of the hardest things in baseball today. To not only perform but perform brilliantly during your first season in Pinstripes and lead the Yankees to a World Series victory? Unlikely to say the least. Yet that is exactly what CC Sabathia did in 2009.
Everything did not come up roses for CC initially. Even with the free agent signings of Marx Texiera and AJ Burnett, CC still felt the pressure and struggled initially with one win, three losses, and two no decisions in his first six outings. In May, CC’s brilliance began to show as he threw 45.2 innings and only gave up 13 earned runs while striking out 37 batters for a record of 4-1, and no decision that month. June and July were not spectacular but were enough to hold the Yankees together while the problems with Joba Chamberlain started.
Without a reliable 4th starter for most of the year, CC was the bedrock for the team and when the calendar hit August he turned it on. In his last 12 appearances of the regular season he went 9-1 with 1 no decision, beating the Red Sox 3 times during that stretch. Needless to say his postseason performance was crucial to the Yankees success as he threw 36.1 innings giving up only 8 earned runs on 28 hits with 32 strikeouts in 5 appearances for a record of 3-1 with1 no decision.
- 2009 Regular Season Stats:19 Wins 8 Losses 3.37 ERA 230 Innings 197 Hits 67 Walks 197 Strikeouts
2010: The big question in the Bronx is whether or not CC will be able to maintain his dominant form. In seasons past he has faded in the postseason because he threw an incredible amount of high stress innings during the regular season. Last year CC was a horse and we will have to wait and see if he can do it again in 2010. The addition of Javier Vazquez and bringing back Andy Pettitte will certainly help the big man not feel the pressure nearly as much as last season.
CC will be helped by the increased strength of the starting rotation, the bullpen, and the offense that, with a healthy Alex Rodriguez, will be one of the most productive in baseball. Adjusting to the American League is never easy especially in the AL East but with one year under his belt, look for Sabathia to come back and pitch even better in 2010. Playing in Yankee Stadium is still difficult, but with a championship already under his belt after year 1 I doubt CC will be feeling the pressure quite as much as last year. Look forward to a big year from the biggest Yankee.
- 2010 Regular Season Prediction: 35 games 22 Wins 6 Losses 3.4 ERA 225 Innings 210 Hits 60 Walks 205 Strikeouts