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Yankees Ask Sabathia to Beat the Indians and Keep the Season Alive
At the start of spring training, hardly anyone in the Yankees organization would have predicted
that C. C. Sabathia, with a cumulative 18-26 record and 4.42 earned run average over the previous three seasons, would wind up being entrusted with the team’s most important start of 2017.
Sabathia may not have returned to the level of 2009, when he helped lead the Yankees to their last World Series title,
but he has given Girardi reason to favor him over Gray, who did not last four innings in the Yankees’ loss in Game 1.
He’s going to be C. C., and I expect him to do a phenomenal job.”
Sabathia’s contract — an extension of the seven-year, $161 million deal he signed
before the 2009 season — will expire along with the Yankees’ postseason run.
Wednesday’s elimination game will be a rematch of Game 2: Sabathia against Corey Kluber, who is widely expected to win his second A. L.
Cy Young Award in November and become the Indians’ fourth winner in 11 years.
But in the 15 of those games that he has pitched for the Yankees, he has a 7-2 record with a 3.49 E. R.A.,
and he was named the most valuable player of the 2009 American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi had two options for the decisive Game 5 of the American League division series on Wednesday in Cleveland.
Sabathia’s surprising 2017 performance — a 14-5 record, the best on the team, and a 3.69 E. R.A.
that was second on the starting staff to Luis Severino’s 2.98 — explains some of the reaction.