Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Girardi Trusts CC & Layne, Yanks Win
That was all CC Sabathia needed. The Big Fella turned back the clock, and Joe Girardi actually let him pitch 7 full innings, in which he allowed just 1 run on 3 hits and a walk, striking out 7. Aside from an RBI triple by Leonys Martin in the 3rd, he was partying like it was 2009 -- minus the booze.
Girardi also trusted lefthanded reliever Tommy Layne to pitch an entire inning, not just to 1 lefty batter, and he pitched a perfect 8th. The Yanks got an insurance run in the 9th, and Dellin Betances closed it out.
Yankees 5, Mariners 1. WP: Sabathia (8-10). No save, as the Yanks led by 4 runs when Betances took over. Had that run not scored, he would have gotten a save. LP: Taijuan Walker (4-8).
So, Joe Girardi, the moral of the story is "Throw away the binder, and trust your pitchers."
The Yankees are 7 games behind both the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East, and 5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the AL's 2nd wild card. The O's trail the Sox and Jays by 2 games for the Division lead.
Elsewhere, the Cleveland Indians look like they have the AL Central wrapped up, leading the Detroit Tigers by 6 1/2 games and the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals by 7 1/2. The Texas Rangers lead the AL West by 5 1/2 over the Mariners and 8 over the Houston Astros. All of those teams are at least in Wild Card contention.
In the National League East, the Washington Nationals lead the Miami Marlins by 8 games and the Mets by 10. The Chicago Cubs are coasting in the Central, leading the St. Louis Cardinals by 13 1/2 games. They've looked like the best team in baseball all season long, which will only make it that much worse when the inevitable letdown happens.
The old rivals, formerly from New York City, remain in a dogfight in the NL West, as the Los Angeles Dodgers lead the San Francisco Giants by 2 games -- and they're playing each other this week. The Giants have won the World Series in the last 3 even-numbered seasons, including 2014 when they snuck in via the Wild Card, so we cannot discount them in 2016, not by a longshot.
The Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals currently hold the NL Wild Card slots. The Marlins are a game and a half behind the Giants. The Mets are 3 1/2 back, so they're not out of the Playoff hunt yet. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies are also within range.
So, with 5 1/2 weeks of regular season play to go, there are still 19 out of the 30 teams with a legitimate shot at the postseason.
The Yanks-M's series continues this afternoon, with both starters coming from Japan: Masahiro Tanaka (10-4) for the Yankees, and Hisashi Iwakuma (14-8) for Seattle.