Saturday, June 26, 2010

CC steps up with big win, protection

CC Sabathia has made it perfectly clear that he will not allow his hitters to be thrown at without retaliation. So it was not a surprise that headhunter Vincente Padilla took one to the leg an inning after he hit Robinson Cano and a year after he hit Mark Teixeira, nearly starting a riot at Yankee Stadium.

It's nice to finally have a starting pitcher who has the stomach to retaliate. It was incredibly frustrating to watch New York Yankees hitters getting plunked for years without consequences. But CC has put an end to all that nonsense, hitting Dustin Pedroia in Boston on a Saturday afternoon in May during a nationally televised game and Padilla last night. He has sent the rest of baseball a warning: hit my hitters at your own peril.

But most importantly, CC was amped up for what was a huge game. In a second straight dominant outing, he went eight innings, this time giving up only one run after shutting out the Mets last weekend. This is the CC Yankee fans know and love, the hefty lefty who steps up to throttle opposing lineups in important games.

Anyone who thinks interleague baseball is a downer really has to take a long look at this last Yankees road trip. The buzz in Arizona, where I spent three-plus days with at least 100 other Yankee fans in one hotel and thousands of others at the stadium, was tremendous. And that buzz followed the team to Los Angeles. CC obviously fed off of that energy, pitching one of his best games of the year and playing the role of guardian to the Yankees lineup to perfection.

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