CC Sabathia doesn’t throw as hard as he once did. While he was the subject of some “Best Shape of His Life” stuff a few years ago, isn’t in any better shape than he’s ever been, and, as most men in their late 30s find, probably has lost a step of three in terms of general conditioning. Nonetheless, he’s been outstanding this year, posting a 1.71 ERA in five starts, striking out 16 and walking only five in 26.1 innings. Last night he twirled a gem against the Angels, allowing only one run in seven innings of work while nabbing his second win of the year.
The thing that’s been fantastic to see from Sabathia is how, unlike a lot of fireballers in the late stages of their careers, he knows he’s not a fireballer anymore. Sabathia has turned himself into a pitcher — I’d even say he’s crafty now — working the corners and working his way into year three of a lovely late career renaissance with the Yankees that could very well put the icing on the cake of a Hall of Fame career.
Not that the fire is completely gone. I missed last night’s Yankees-Angels game and there isn’t video of this going down, but as the New York Daily News reported, Sabathia had some heat for home plate umpire Angel Hernandez:
Angry that a 1-2 pitch to Justin Upton wasn’t called a strike, Sabathia and Hernandez exchanged words following the third inning of the Yankees’ 2-1 victory over the Angels on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium of Anaheim . . . “Don’t talk to me. Call f–king strikes!” Sabathia yelled at Hernandez after getting Upton to ground to third for the final out of the frame, stranding runners at the corners.
CC, my man, people have been begging Hernandez to do that for years and it has never worked, so don’t get too upset. Just keep on doing what you’re doing and you can give Hernandez a shoutout when you’re at your induction ceremony.