Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Can CC Sabathia reclaim his ace mantle?

The success of the first-place New York Yankees this year has masked a perplexing problem: the struggles of supposed ace CC Sabathia.

Bad mechanics continue to plague the hefty lefty. Sabathia's numbers are decent, but hardly ace-worthy: a 6-3 record with a 4.01 ERA, 69 strikeouts compared to 27 walks and a 1.22 WHIP. But four of those wins came against the hapless Orioles so his numbers are somewhat inflated by the weaker competition.

CC has a chance to turn it around starting tonight in what should be a marquee matchup between Sabathia and Mr. Perfect Roy "Doc" Halladay. But these star battles can often be disappointing. Remember, CC went against Johan Santana in a purported battle of the aces at Citi Field a few weeks ago and was promptly spanked by the New York Mets lineup.

Sabathia's pitching troubles have not been a major issue for the Yankees because of fantastic pitching from Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes, while the fall and subsequent rise of Javier Vazquez has consumed the New York media. But CC will start feeling the heat soon if he doesn't turn things around.

I wouldn't count out the big guy just yet. He's shown flashes of breaking out of his pitching slump and when he finally gets on a roll, he will dominate team after team. He can reclaim his ace mantle very quickly, hopefully starting tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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