New York Yankees Must Rely On CC Sabathia Amid Struggling Rotation

By William Chase
Getty Images
Getty Images

The New York Yankees begin their crucial three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays tonight as they look to close the gap in the race for the division.

New York will be up against a Cy Young favorite in David Price, who is 7-1 as a member of the Blue Jays with an ERA of 2.17. He’s 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA in three starts against the Yankees as a member of the Blue Jays.

The Jays have won the season series as they currently lead the series 11-5. GM Brian Cashman is on the record as having said he would be okay with the wild card, and while the Yankees aren’t conceding the division, a bad series in Toronto all but means wild card. The pitching matchup for the series begins with Adam Warren vs. Price, Luis Severino vs. Marco Estrada and Iván Nova vs. Marcus Stroman.

While news has come out that Masahiro Tanaka will miss his next scheduled start due to a hamstring injury, the Yankees are lining him up to begin the playoffs, which is the logical bet, assuming he’s healthy.

He’s been the most consistent for the Yankees overall with a 2.30 ERA in September, and he’s gone at least six innings every start since June 27 when he allowed six earned runs against the Houston Astros, lasting five innings. Since then, he’s given up as much as four earned runs in a game twice.

Once to be feared lost for the season, CC Sabathia has found new life. Pitching with the right knee brace, the former ace has been simply magnificent for the first time in a long time. In the month of September he has a 1.04 ERA across 17.1 innings.

In his first start off the DL Sept. 9, CC only lasted 4.2 innings against the Baltimore Orioles. It was a game the Yankees lost, but he only allowed one ER. Sabathia lasted into the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays and then continued his surge Sunday night against the New York Mets.

Who knows how long CC can keep it up with seemingly every starter getting stung by injuries. Nova, who was dropped into the bullpen last week, will make the start Wednesday night. His last appearance in a game was his last start Sept. 12 when the Blue Jays lit him up for six runs in just 1.2 innings. Perhaps the extra rest will have done him good.

It seems something changes every day with the Yankees, but if they take care of business tonight, they’re just 1.5 games out of first place. They have a four-game lead over the struggling Astros so barring something catastrophic, the Yankees look to be playoff bound.

It’s anyone’s guess who will be coming out of the rotation for the Yankees as injuries or inconsistencies take their toll. Nathan Eovaldi seems to be likely done for the regular season, and may not start another game this year as it’ll take time for him to get his arm strength and endurance back. He could be a positive factor out of the bullpen.

At least CC seems to have righted the ship for the moment.

William Chase is a New York Yankees and Columbus Blue Jackets writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter @William_Chase88 “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on LinkedIn and Google.

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