By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor
A month ago there was that prevailing losing attitude about the New York Yankees. It was seen on the field, in the clubhouse and most of their enthusiastic fans forgot that not even a third of the season had been played. What a difference a month makes as the Yankees keep rolling.
And with their fifth straight win in the Bronx Friday night, 4-0 over the Detroit Tigers, reality has set in because the Yankees are a game over .500, (31-30) and CC Sabathia with a resurgence on the mound soon could be once again be known as ace of the pitching staff.
This week the Los Angeles Angels were the victims of a four game sweep. The Yankees did what they had to do to climb closer to that .500 mark. With two more against the struggling Tigers, and with the Yankees winning 15 of their last 21 games at home, there is a resurgence and all that talk of losing in the Bronx has quickly vanished.
“It’s big for us,” Sabathia said about the win. “We have been on a tough stretch,” More so, it is bigger for the Yankees to have Sabathia throwing the way he did again Friday night. His velocity is not the same, though a 93 fastball is good by all standards, but the changeup and cutter have become the other pitches that have also been a reason for the resurgence.
“Just another brilliant outing by him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We saw that last september. We believed in CC. He has been as good as it gets.”
The Yankees are in a final stretch of playing 40 games in 41 days. The day off comes Monday and then travel dates to play the below .500 teams, Colorado and Minnesota. So they are taking care of business, and so is Sabathia (4-4), who tossed 7.0 shutout innings on five hits, walking two and striking out four. He has now thrown 12.0 innings of scoreless ball that date back to the fifth inning in a start up at Toronto on May 31st.
And when the opposing manager says good things about Sabathia, there is no doubt that the resurgence is apparent. It makes the Yankees that much better when Sabathia is pitching like the ace he once was.
“He’s a little bit sneaky,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmas said. “He’s cutting the ball, he’s using the changeup. He’s got pretty good life down in the zone. His velocity was better than the last time we saw him.”
Sabathia had Miguel Cabrera fooled. The Tigers hottest hitter had a 10-game hitting streak stopped and went 0-for4, including an inning ending ground out double play ball in the fifth with two runners on that ended a threat. It was vintage Sabathia and more reason to talk about a resurgence from the soon to be 36-year old left hander.
He is pain free, and that also makes a difference. Two bad knees have reduced the velocity and dependence on a brace for the right is something he has tried to avoid since using it last September. So being healthy, as Sabathia admits, does makes a difference.
When asked about the difference and resurgence, Sabathia said, “I knew that obviously every pitcher ages and you lose your fastball velocity and all that stuff. It took a while and it was health. I just wasn’t healthy enough to execute the pitches so me being pain free is a big difference.”
As for the Yankees, a team that has also seen the resurgence, Carlos Beltran continued to look good at the plate going 2-for-4 and driving in another run. He is hitting a healthy .474 with three home runs and 11 RBI during the five game winning streak that have come at Yankee Stadium.
Beltran, along with Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius had two hits apiece as the Yankees handed former Mets righthander Mike Pelfrey, (1-6) another loss. Gardner is batting .533, with nine runs and 2 RBI during his seven game hitting streak.
But it is that resurgence of Sabathia that has Girardi optimistic,and for that matter all Yankees fans. Oh, there is a lot of baseball, more than a half a season left to play.
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