Here stand the Yankees: defending World Champions, first place in the American League East by 2 games, best record in baseball at 55-32 and best run differential at +111, no serious injuries at present time, the class of baseball and confident in mostly every important aspect of the game. For the Yankees, things are good. They’re on top, and no matter what will head into the All-Star Break as the class of baseball and in first place.
In two hours, CC Sabathia toe the mound against the Mariners. Silencing the complaints over his slow start and May struggles, Sabathia has turned on the heat in June. He’s earned a win in every one of his last seven starts, hurling 52.2 innings, striking out 49 and walking only 17. He has an ERA of 1.88 during this stretch and opponents are OPSing .526 against him. The big man is on fire.
Opposing Carsten Charles is a bespectacled Aussie named Ryan Rowland-Smith. As I noted last time the Yankees faced him, Rowland-Smith has a walk rate (3.94) higher than his strikeout rate (3.49). In 80 innings he has an ERA of 5.74 and a FIP of 6.64. He’s started 15 games, and has a record of 1-8. The win-loss record has its obvious pitfalls and can be misleading, but in this case it’s a pretty good indication of this central fact: Rowland-Smith is not very good at pitching. The Yankees beat him when they faced him on July 1, but they didn’t exactly bludgeon him. Rowland-Smith’s final line was 6.0 IP, 5H, 2ER, 3BB and 2K.
Despite last night’s ridiculous loss, the Yankees can take 3 out of 4 games from the Mariners with a win today and will have won 8 out of their last 10 games. I’m hoping for a convincing and strong outing for CC and an early exit for Mr. Rowland-Smith. One more win, fellas. One more win and you get a few days off to do whatever it is you do when you’re not playing baseball. Finish strong, and if it’s not too much trouble, please score enough runs and keep Joba off the mound. I need a Joba break.