Does CC Sabathia "know how to win?"

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The Daily News’ John Harper and Joe Girardi play the Jack Morris card in regards to CC Sabathia:

Sabathia gave the Yankees something of a Jack Morris game Sunday night, at least by the pitch-count limits of today’s game, going 6-2/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned. Along the way he had to overcome a couple of Robinson Cano errors, but most importantly, he held a lead from the third inning on, didn’t walk anyone, and threw 118 pitches to get the game to Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera.

“I think the great pitchers know how to do that,” Joe Girardi said afterward. “The great ones don’t relinquish the lead. They know how to pitch to the score and win the game, and CC is one of those guys.”

Look, I love CC Sabathia, and even though he beat my Braves in Game 7 of 1991 and was kind of a jerk the one time I met him in person, I have a soft spot in my heart for Jack Morris because he was the ace of the team I loved when I was a little kid. But please, can’t we finally do away with the whole “knows how to win” and “pitches to the score” argument?  The notion that Jack Morris intentionally “pitched to the score” and had some preternatural ability to win that was separate and apart from his run support has been discredited multiple times (here’s one of the better examples).

Jack Morris was a good, not great pitcher who benefited from some very good offenses in Detroit in the 1980s.  Sabathia has been great, but for the most part this season has been merely good, and last night was a great example of it.  Solid. Professional. As always, tough.  But his win had way more to do with the five dingers the Yankees hit off of Josh Beckett than any sort of hoodoo or gumption he has that no one else has.

What kills me about the “he just knows how to win” line is that, as is the case here, it’s almost always uttered by writers and managers and people who are very big on talking about how teams, not individuals, win games.  Why then, can’t they acknowledge that when a pitcher wins a game with eight runs behind him, it has more to do with the team than with whatever winner’s magic he is supposed to possess?

Indians’ postseason rotation is still up in the air

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.

Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.

With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:

If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.

Matt Holliday wants to return in 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals after he hit a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.

It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.