The Stuff That Legends Are Made Of

October 13, 2012 — CC Sabathia carried the Yankees onto the ALCS.

After allowing two runs in 8 2/3 innings of work in the Yankees Game 1 win, Sabathia took the ball with everything on the line in last night’s Game 5.

In the biggest game of the year, Sabathia was at his very best. The big lefty cruised through the first seven innings, giving up one hit and one walk, while not allowing a single base runner to advance past first.

In the eighth, with the Yankees holding a 3-0 lead, Sabathia got into trouble, and then fought his way out of it. In essence, Sabathia battled for the Yankees season, which hung in the balance.

With the bases loaded and one out, Sabathia struck out Orioles leadoff hitter Nate McLouth and then got J.J. Hardy to hit a slow ground ball to Derek Jeter, who charged it and fired a strike to Mark Texeira while the crowd held its collective breath.

As Sabathia was literally battling for the Yankees season, I was mindful that even in such an important spot, neither Yankees manager Joe Girardi nor pitching coach Larry Rothschild came to the mound. Those non-moves underscored the confidence the Yankees coaching staff has in Sabathia. He was entrusted with the season, and even when things got heavy, he was left to finish the job.

Sabathia’s performance last night are the stuff that legends are made of. Sabathia’s two victories in the five-game ALDS triumph were reminiscent of his 2009 postseason, when he went 3-0 en route to the World Series.

Hopefully, when Sabathia’s 2012 postseason is all said and done, we’ll be using it as the standard by which all pitchers are judged for coming up big in October.

So far, he’s one-third of the way there.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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