(Check out that battery. Courtesy of Getty Images)
Let's make one thing perfectly clear. Kevin Millwood is not a good starting pitcher. He's just not, and he hasn't been for quite some time. The Yankees know this from firsthand experience, having had him in their MiL system for a short time in the recent past, so they should be able to destroy him every time they face him. And yet that hasn't been the case in the 2 previous times they've faced him this season. They had another chance last night, and while it wasn't the woodshed beating you might expect, it was certainly a better offensive performance than ones past, almost as good as CC's performance.
- CC had has fastball working down in the zone and his slider dropping off the face of the earth from the first pitch he threw last night, two things he hasn't found since coming back to the DL. He worked the first turn through the Seattle lineup perfectly, with 4 strikeouts and only 1 ball leaving the infield.
- He got some run support in the bottom of the 3rd, when an Ichiro/Curtis Granderson single sandwich with a Russell Martin double as the meat made it 2-0.
- Sabathia made his one mistake of the night in the top of the 4th, when he threw a first-pitch changeup to Casper Wells that stayed up and ended up out.
- After that HR, however, Sabathia recovered to strike out 6 of the next 8 batters he faced, all of them swinging and 5 of them on the slider, to keep it at 2-1 through the top of the 6th.
- Eric Chavez continued his awesome season off the bench with a Yankee Stadium Special 2-run HR in the bottom of the 6th to make it 4-1, effectively ending Millwood's night, and that was all Sabathia would need from there.
- Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez each singled in a run in the 7th, and Sabathia gave up a late garbage time HR in the 9th, but he was absolutely dominant, and the Yankees cruised to the win.
- It's worth noting that last night was the first time in a while that Martin caught Sabathia instead of Stewart. With the way CC pitched, I'd have to think Joe is going to keep it this way for now.
- Sabathia: CG, 9 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, W. The 2 HR and 3 ER allowed make his line look a little normal, but CC was absolutely in shutdown mode last night. He had everything working, had great movement down in the zone, and looked like the ace people have been calling for him to be lately. CC hasn't looked as dominant as he did last night in months, and it could be a sign that he's finally starting to get right with his 4-seamer.
- Chavez: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 LOB. Just do the damn thing, Eric. Do the damn thing.
- Can't really find one from last night. Everybody in the starting lineup had at least 1 hit, 5 guys scored runs, 4 drove in runs. It was a well-balanced win.
Second game of this weekend series is this afternoon and it should be a good pitching matchup, with Hiroki Kuroda and Felix Hernandez squaring off.