(It was all about this guy last night. Courtesy of The AP)
I said the time off was going to be good for more than just his groin strain, and CC Sabathia proved me right, at least for last night. He looked about as good as we could have hoped for in his first start back last night; he was sharp with his command, he had good life on his fastball, and he was efficient with his pitches, throwing 87 to get through 6+ scoreless innings. The offense gave him a little run support early and then shut the door on any comebacks attempts with some insurance late. Bing, bang, boom, Yankees win again.
- It wasn't the 1st inning, but I suppose the 2nd was acceptable for the Yankees to score their first runs of the game. Robinson Cano led off with a single, Nick Swisher walked, and Andruw Jones brought everybody home with his 12th HR of the year.
- Sabathia worked around a couple of Toronto doubles in the 2nd and 3rd innings, and looked just as good out of the stretch as he did out of the full windup. His slider was really working as a swing-and-miss pitch early.
- Much like they did on Monday against Henderson Alvarez, the Yankee offense went a bit dormant against Brett Cecil in the middle innings. They left 2 on base in the 4th inning and the last 8 hitters Cecil faced went down in order to keep the game close through 6.
- CC gave up a leadoff single to start the 7th and that was it for him. After the game, he mentioned 85 pitches being the planned limit, which I can totally get on board with for a first game back. Cody Eppley and Boone Logan teamed up to finish the inning.
- In the bottom half, the offense finally put the game away. Heart of the order, Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart, got things started with a single and a double to score 1 run, Derek Jeter followed up with an RBI knock of his own, and A-Rod scored Jeter with a groundout for all the insurance New York would need.
- Chad Qualls gave up a cheapy in the 8th, and for some reason Joe went to Soriano again to clean up the mess in the 9th (5th appearance in the last 6 games), but it was still a no-doubt win for the Yanks.
- Jones: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 K, 1 LOB. Get ready for another big second half from Andruw. Don't be shocked when he finishes with 20-22 homers this season.
- Sabathia: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, W. Joins Ivan Nova in the 10-win club in his first start back. If there was one thing to nitpick about CC's outing, you could say that he didn't get a lot of groundball outs like he usually does (just 3), but with as good as his stuff and command looked that's hardly a concern. If this 3 weeks off did his body as much good as I think it did, then the rest of the AL East is just playing for the Wild Card.
- Nix: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K. I wanted to go Jeter here for this 2-4 night, but Nix has quietly done a great job off the bench for the Yankees. He always seems to contribute something at the plate, he's right in the middle of at least 1 rally, and he's played well in the field. His versatility is going to keep him on this roster for a while.
Qualls: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Somebody had to make this spot, might as well be the guy who blew the shutout. At least Qualls actually struck somebody out last night, but man does he suck something awful.
We got us a little series sweep in the cards today. The Yanks can make it 5 of 6 to start the second half, and Hiroki Kuroda could use a bounce-back start after a rough one before the ASB and a rough one last Friday in his first start after the ASB. Ricky Romero and his plus-5.00 career ERA against the Yankees faces Kuroda this afternoon at 1:05PM EST/12:05 Central.