Tag: CC Sabathia

Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle earned his 200th career win


Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle earned the 200th win of his career on Friday afternoon in a 12-5 victory over the Orioles. He is one of 116 pitchers in baseball history to have won at least 200 games. The lefty allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out two in six innings. He left with an 11-2 lead.

Buehrle, 36, has aged rather well. Since his age-30 season in 2009, the veteran has a 3.83 ERA in 1,243 innings. He’s Jamie Moyer-esque as he averages around 84 MPH on his fastball. Only teammate R.A. Dickey averaged a lower velocity on his fastball last season (82 MPH). Buehrle has succeeded over the years by working quickly — he and Dickey were baseball’s two fastest-working pitchers last year — and limiting walks.

Buehrle has also been durable, pitching 200-plus innings in every season dating back to 2001. He can become a free agent after the season and though he’ll be heading into his age-37 season, he should draw a fair amount of interest given his track record. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him pitch into his 40’s like Moyer.

If Buehrle is able to win at least 13 games this year as he has in five out of the last six seasons, he could finish the season just behind or tied with John Smoltz for 89th all-time on the wins leaderboard with 213. Among active pitchers Tim Hudson currently has the most career wins at 214. CC Sabathia has 208 and Bartolo Colon has 205.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Trevor Bauer

Indians 5, Astros 1: Trevor Bauer needs to get more economical with his pitches out there and walk fewer dudes, but I think the Indians will still take six no-hit innings with 11 strikeouts. The sole hit by the Astros was a ninth inning homer by Jed Lowrie off of Nick Hagadone-killed-our-chances-at-seeing-a-no-hitter.

Mets 6, Nationals 3: Matt Harvey vs. Stephen Strasburg was all Matt Harvey. Six innings four hits, zero runs and nine strikeouts. Three of them were strikeouts of Bryce Harper, all swinging, all on high fastballs. Which, you know, maybe he should start to lay off, bro.

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Hey, the Twins scored a run. It wasn’t earned, but don’t bother them with details. Before that run scored in the seventh, the Tigers established a non-Deadball era record for a shutout streak to begin the season: 24 innings. There was a three and a half hour rain delay but after it was over Brad Ausmus declared it “great weather for baseball.” Which is why you wait three and a half hours to play sometimes, I guess.

Royals 4, White Sox 1: Yet another opening series sweep. This one was full of all kinds of insane defense. We posted about Adam Eaton’s great catch yesterday. Lorenzo Cain ranged around quite a bit out there in center as well:

In any event, Edinson Volquez was thankful for the leather behind him as he tossed eight innings allowing only one run.

Rangers 10, Athletics 1: Four homers from the Rangers including a three-run shot from Shin-Soo Choo and a two-run shot from Mitch Moreland. Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor added solo home runs. Beltre’s came in the same at bat where he swung so hard and so early at a breaking ball that he fell down to his knees and nearly did a 360 into the dirt. Next curve ball he saw he went down to his knees and jacked it over the fence in left-center. Watch:

In other news, Beltre is pretty amazing to watch and stories like these will be told by fans who watched him each January when the writers, inexplicably, fail to give him any Hall of Fame love.

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 3: Daniel Norris, who as everyone knows by now, lives in a van down by the river, can also pitch a little. Not a shutdown effort, but three runs while pitching into the sixth and striking out five is a fine effort after your offense dropped five on CC Sabathia. A-Rod hits his first dinger since 2013. Pathetically, of course, he does so in a losing effort, clearly because he wanted to show up his teammates. God that guy is the absolute worst.

Red Sox 6, Phillies 2: Xander Bogaerts had three hits and three RBI, all of those coming on a bases loaded triple. Best part of this game, however, were the retro caps the Phillies wore. 1915 models:

source: AP


Giants 1, Padres 0: No offense and four hours of play is the sort of thing that makes Rob Manfred wake up in a cold sweat, I’d imagine. Oh well, it happens. And it ends when someone like Justin Maxwell hits a pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the 12th inning. Or maybe him specifically as opposed to someone merely like him. The Giants only had six hits in the game and the game-winning “rally” happened thanks to an error which allowed Brandon Crawford reach second, an intentional walk and then the Maxwell hit. San Diego stranded six runners at third base, ten overall. Feel the excitement.

Reds 3, Pirates 2: Cincy sweeps the Buccos. Joey Votto hit a two-run shot and started off the opening series of the year 5 for 14 with four driven in. The game ended on a walkoff error, thanks to Gregory Polanco muffing a liner to right off the bat of Marlon Byrd with two men on.

Yankees announce rotation: Masahiro Tanaka on Opening Day, followed by Pineda, Sabathia, Eovaldi

tanaka getty

Making official what was reported earlier this week, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Masahiro Tanaka will start Opening Day.

Tanaka was brilliant as a rookie last season, going 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141/21 K/BB ratio in 136 innings, but he was shut down with elbow problems in July and has spent all spring trying to show that he can continue pitching without undergoing Tommy John surgery.

The results have been very promising, with a 1.74 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio in 10 spring training innings, and the Yankees feel confident enough in Tanaka’s health to send him out there for Game 1.

Girardi also announced that Tanaka will be followed in the rotation by Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, and Nathan Eovaldi, with the fifth spot unnamed (but presumed to be going to Adam Warren).

2015 Preview: New York Yankees

Joe Girardi

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The New York Yankees.

The Big Question: Is there a team with a more extreme possibility of outcomes in 2015 than the Yankees?

Hard to see one. Which may surprise some of you given that, in the mind of the general baseball public, the Yankees are toast. Really, strike up a conversation about the Bombers with casual baseball fans anyplace, even in New York, and the sentiments will very quickly turn to “well, it was a nice run” with very few people giving them an actual chance in 2015.

But it’s premature in my mind to write the Yankees off. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which they win, say, 88 games and make the playoffs. To be sure, that scenario is not particularly likely to play out and getting there is going to take everything breaking right with a lot of older players with injury histories. That’s not, historically, the sort of bet on which smart gamblers make a lot of money.

But nor is it sheer fantasy to suggest that two young, potential ace pitchers — Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda — can bounce back from injury and that CC Sabathia can put in an innings-eatery sort of year which makes him a nice third starter. It’s not crazy to think that Brian McCann will bounce back to his old self after last season’s quite unexpectedly bad year. It’s not insane to think that they won’t get better production at shortstop, second base and third base because, really, it’s hard to imagine it being worse. It’s not a totally loony thing to think that one, two or some combination of Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez will give the Yankees more in 2015 than they did in 2014, even if we can’t expect them to be megastars again.

The point here isn’t that the Yankees are a good bet to be a playoff team. They’re not. It’s just that they (a) won 84 games last year, even if it feels like they were terrible; (b) they have more guys who can be expected to have better years in 2015 than they did in 2014 than worse ones; and (c) it’s not going to take 95-100 wins to make the playoffs out of the AL East.

Is this the Bronx Bombers we’ve lived with for most of the past two decades? Is this a mid-dynasty kind of team? Nope. Not by damn sight. Indeed, it’s a team that, if it experiences even an average amount of decline and injury for a roster of its age, could totally crater. And that’s before you take into account the possibility that Tanaka or Pineda could have injury setbacks, which may immediately sink New York if and when it happens.

But, if things break just so, it’s a club that could, without total miracles, improve by five or six games over where it was last year. And in the age of parity and two wild cards, that can be enough.

What else is going on?

  • Oh, one other reason not to write the Yankees off just yet? Killer bullpen. The sort of bullpen which quite often elevates a team no one thought much of into contending status. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller may be the best lefty-righty combination in baseball. Each of them could be a closer for a championship team. Joe Girardi is going to have all kinds of options here, including making them a two-headed closer combo, allowing him to use whichever of these two match up best with seventh or eighth inning threats while still having someone around to lock down the ninth. That’s before you get to the considerable number of other power arms hanging around, and another good lefty in Chasen Shreve. It may not make Yankees fans happy to be compared to the Royals, but it’s a model that works, even if a club has a sputtering offense.
  • While the top three starters I mentioned above provide some upside, it’s pretty darn risky upside. Tanaka’s UCL could give up the ghost, Pineda could struggle with injury once again and Sabathia could show us that all of those innings he tossed earlier in his career have finally caught up with him. Really, the rotation is the most make-or-break part of this club. The break comes from the fact that there really are no reinforcements if the top three guys don’t come through. Starters four and five are Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano. Starters 6-10 may include Sterling Hitchcock and Andy Hawkins.
  • A-Rod got all of the headlines this winter and early spring, but he’s been quiet since camp opened. And he’s been useful, according to his manager. Some have suggested cutting him to get the famous addition-by-subtraction effect. He may, actually, be a nice addition to the Yankees lineup when he DHs or the bench when he doesn’t.
  • Always an x-factor, even if it’s one that goes criminally underappreciated: Joe Girardi. The Yankees have outperformed their Pythagorean record the last two seasons, and he should get a lot of the credit for that. Primarily for his bullpen management. Maybe that’s not the sort of thing that holds up — maybe last year’s 84-win club should’ve won just 77 games and, this year, their results will fall far more closely in line with numerical expectations — but it’s hard to find a team whose manager does less to harm them and more to nudge them ahead than the Yankees. Even if Girardi doesn’t get much credit for it.

Prediction: All of that talk about upside notwithstanding, let us not delude ourselves. The Yankees are still an old team. They’re an old team counting on multiple guys with serious injury histories and risks to bounce back and be healthy and effective. That could happen, but it’s gonna require long odds to pay off and multiple needles to be threaded. Ask the Phillies how those sorts of bets pay off. If everyone feels their age and even one or two key injuries happen, this could be the worst Yankees team in 25 years. If everything breaks right and the bullpen powers them forward, they could sneak up and snag a wild card.

So let us hedge our bets and say that they’ll find themselves in Third Place, American League East, even if a more likely outcome is both better and worse than that.

Masahiro Tanaka to be named the Yankees Opening Day starter

Masahiro Tanaka AP

Yesterday Joe Girardi admitted that, based on how the Yankees spring rotation has been set up, CC Sabathia would be on short rest for Opening Day, making him unlikely to start that day. Who is in line: Masahiro Tanaka.

Sabathia has started the past six Opening Days for the Yankees. Before that he started the previous three for the Cleveland Indians. The last time he didn’t start an Opening Day game was 2005. But he did in 2003 and 2004, meaning that the big guy has started 11 of the past 12 openers in his 14 season-career.

I wonder if all of the people who are mad that the Mets are starting their big old dude on Opening Day are going to be mad that the Yankees aren’t.