Game 92, Mariners at Yankees
King Felix vs. CC Sabathia, 10:05am
Happy Felix Day
Yankees starter CC Sabathia turns 35 in a few days, and is making his first start since July 8th. That start was pushed back a bit after the big lefty had his knee drained. While his control’s still good, his velocity’s down and his platoon splits – which had been concerning in recent years – are now a major problem. Sabathia will be paid $25m in both 2016 and 2017.* It’s not a huge problem contract – whatever the annual amount, he only has two years left. More importantly, a “bad” contract is only an impediment if it prevents you from doing something important – if it so curtails your flexibility that you can’t make needed upgrades. That’s just not the case with the Yankees, who’ve been living with and moving past dead money contracts for years.
Sabathia’s interesting in that he’s now something of a black hole, and he’s maintained his grip on a rotation spot not so much because of that big contract (though that probably doesn’t hurt), but because there aren’t a whole lot of other options. Their pitching staff has been very good, thanks in large part to a dominant bullpen, but Sabathia and his homer-battered ERA/FIP pull the overall averages down. Likewise, their offense is solidly above average thanks to bounce-back years from Mark Teixeira, A-Rod and a breakout by Brett Gardner, but the group has some black holes, too. As bad as Cano’s been, the NY 2Bs who’ve tried to replace him have been much worse. Stephen Drew and company have hit .185/.246/.346 this year, and that’s necessitated the recent call-up of prospect Rob Refsnyder. So a team with good players can overcome dead spots in the line-up… a team with solid starters and a great bullpen can get by even if a starter or two isn’t clicking… why is it that the M’s always seem so sunk by THEIR black holes, while other teams easily get away from theirs?
1: Jackson, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, RF
5: Gutierrez, LF
6: Trumbo, 1B
7: Montero, DH
8: Taylor, SS
9: Zunino, C
SP: The King
Lots of righties in there against Sabathia, which makes sense.
Tacoma snapped their losing streak in extras last night, 6-5. The R’s and Sacramento finish up their series today at 1:35 at Cheney. Not sure who’s starting for Tacoma; it’ll be Clayton Blackburn for the Grizzlies.
Jackson lost to Mobile 6-5. Paul Fry struck out 5 in 2 2/3, but took the loss after a tough 6th inning. Still, in 3 games in AA, he’s got 10 Ks and no walks in just shy of 6 innings pitched. Misael Siverio starts tonight.
Stockton needed 14 innings to slip past Bakersfield 4-3. Dan Altavilla pitched 7 solid IP, and is pitching quite well of late. Tyler Pike starts today for the Blaze.
Clinton dropped to 30 games under .500 with an 8-3 loss to Beloit. Tyler Herb starts today for the L-Kings.
Hillsboro beat Everett 2-1. Andrew Moore took the loss after giving up 2 runs in 3 IP. He’s still yet to walk anyone on the year, and has 21 Ks in 15 innings. Luiz Gohara gets the ball for the AquaSox today.
* – Technically, Sabathia’s 2017 money is guaranteed so long as he does not finish the 2016 season on the DL with a shoulder injury, or isn’t limited *due to a left shoulder injury* during the year. That’s an interesting, oddly specific, clause. If he IS hurt *in that specific way*, then the Yanks have a $5m buyout.