By: Billy Lewis
The New York Yankees finished their penultimate series of the regular season in Tampa Bay Thursday afternoon. The story early on was how the Bombers were rolling. They put up a four-spot in the first inning, capped off by a Miguel Andujar three-run homer.
CC Sabathia toed the mound for the what could have been his final regular season start as a New York Yankee. Sabathia’s contract will be up at the end of the season and time will tell if the Yankees bring him back.
Pitching to a 4-0 lead, CC began to roll. He retired the Rays quickly in the bottom of the first. CC was able to retire the first 11 Rays he faced. The Yankee bats helped out Sabathia as they put another three spot on the board in the fourth inning.
Joey Wendle became the first Ray to reach base when he hit a two-out single in the fourth. Sabathia was able to strikeout C.J. Cron and CC was out of the stretch about as fast as he got into it.
Andujar singled in the fifth but was quickly erased when Gleyber Torres grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. The bottom of the fifth would help set the postgame storyline. After getting two quick outs, Sabathia hit Jake Bauers with an inside fastball. After the hit by pitch, Sabathia then got Carlos Gomez to foul out to Luke Voit.
Austin Romine led off the sixth inning for the Yankees. The first pitch Romine saw went right past his back. Neither Romine nor Sabathia was too happy with Rays pitcher, Andrew Kittredge. Kittredge proceded to strikeout Romine on the next three pitches.
After Romine’s strikeout, the Yankees scored another four runs. The final two runs of the inning came on back to back home runs from Voit and Giancarlo Stanton.
CC came out for the sixth sitting on an 11-0 lead. He also sat just two innings from reaching a $500k bonus in his contract. CC was coasting through this point, and with only 54 pitches seemed primed to reach his inning incentive.
Sabathia’s 55th pitch plunked Rays’ catcher Jesus Sucre and Sabathia was promptly ejected. In taking his teammates’ back, Sabathia turned his back to his own $500k bonus.
Possibly the last pitch of Sabathia’s Yankee career showed just why his teammates love him. He wasn’t happy with Kittredge throwing at Romine and made sure to have his catcher’s back.
If I’m Aaron Boone and the Yankees, I try to make sure CC can get two innings out of the bullpen in the Boston series. CC had his team’s back and it would be nice for the Yankees to do the same.