Cliff Lee shuts down the Giants

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It seems like a year ago that the Giants took two of three from the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, but it was only about a week.  For that matter it seems like ten years ago that the Giants beat the Phillies in the NLCS, but it was less than ten months.  But one thing is exactly as it seems: these are two teams heading in starkly opposite directions.

The Phillies won their seventh game in a row last night. Cliff Lee was the master of ceremonies, shutting out the Giants on seven hits. He took only 106 pitches to do it, 76 of which he threw for strikes. And of course he didn’t walk a batter. If there was any doubt that things have changed, know that Cody Ross struck out four times.

Meanwhile Hunter Pence continued his excellent play since coming over in the trade from Houston. He had three hits, a homer included, and drove in two. He’s 9-for-25 with five batted in since joining the Phillies. And of course, they haven’t lost since he arrived.

The Giants are skidding and look outmatched against Philadelphia. For that matter, so does every other team in the National League.

CC Sabathia wants to return to the Yankees in 2018

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CC Sabathia‘s contract is set to expire this offseason, but for the long-tenured left-hander, nowhere feels more like home than New York. “I want to see this through,” Sabathia told reporters after a devastating Game 7 loss in the ALCS. “This is where I want to play.” Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman spoke warmly of the veteran starter, but would make no public guarantees that he’d return to the team next spring.

Sabathia, 37, just topped off his 17th season in the big leagues and his eighth career postseason run. He went 14-5 in 27 starts and put up a 3.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 148 2/3 innings, good for 1.9 fWAR. He looked solid in the playoffs, too, propelling the team to a much-needed win in Game 5 of the ALDS and returning in the Championship Series with six scoreless innings in Game 3. His season ended on a sour note during Game 7, however. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against a dynamic Astros’ offense, allowing one run on five hits and three walks and failing to record a single strikeout for the first time in 23 career postseason appearances.

Heading into the 2017 offseason, Sabathia finally arrived at the end of his seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees. While he’s repeatedly expressed a desire to keep pitching, despite rumors that his career might be on the rocks following the diagnosis of a troublesome degenerative knee condition, the decision isn’t his alone to make. Brian Cashman will also be seeking an extension with the Yankees this winter, so it’s difficult to say which impending free agents the club will try to retain — and Sabathia’s name isn’t the only one on that list. If it were up to skipper Joe Girardi, who is awaiting a decision on his own future with the organization, the decision would be a no-brainer. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for and the great player that he is, the great man that he is,” Girardi said. “The wonderful teammate that he is. How he pulls a team together. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you’re on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time.