I felt like I was waiting for results from a pregnancy test on the morning and afternoon leading up to Game 5 with each passing minute causing me more concern, heartache and forcing my blood pressure to dangerously high levels. The Yankees had spent the entire month of September fighting avoid this very scenario: a one-game playoff.
I went back to my roots (and the pre-2009 world) for Game 5 of the ALDS and stayed off Twitter. Well, I tried to stay off Twitter, but the power of Nick Swisher’s incompetence forced me to tweet the following: “Nick Swisher is the worst player in Major League Baseball.”
I stole a line from Mike O’Hara (Daniel Stern) in Celtic Pride on Friday afternoon and said, “The Yankees won’t lose because I won’t let them lose.” I didn’t even need to kidnap Lewis Scott, or in this case, Nate McLouth to make sure the Yankees won. All I needed was to know that CC Sabathia was on the mound.
There isn’t much to say about the Yankees’ Game 5 win because it was all about CC Sabathia and had very little to do with any of the other Yankees. It was more of the same from the offense that runs and hides when the going gets tough in October and the No. 4 and No. 5 starters from last-place teams are nowhere to be found. The Yankees survived the ALDS because of their pitching and because of the man they extended for two more years in the offseason.
Here’s what I wrote about CC Sabathia after Game 1.
If anyone ever says CC Sabathia isn’t an ace, they’re wrong. CC was a beast on Sunday night and had his best postseason start since 2009 after rocky Octobers in 2010 and 2011. He’s now 6-1 in 11 postseason starts for the Yankees, and oh yeah, he’s 74-29 with a 3.22 ERA in four years in the regular season. That’s 74 and 29. He’s averaging an 18-7 record with a 3.22 ERA in 32 starts over four seasons with the Yankees. If he isn’t an “ace” then who is?
Change “Sunday night” to “Friday afternoon” and change “6-1 in 11 postseason starts” to “7-1 in 12 postseason starts” and there you have it. Sabathia won Game 5 for the Yankees and for an offense that might have trouble with Luke Hochevar or Bruce Chen. Games 1 and 5 are why Sabathia made $23 million this year and will next year and the year after that and that year after that and $25 million the year after with and a vesting option the year after that. He put the team on his back when the offense certainly wasn’t going to and he went out and won a do-or-die elimination game.
Three down, eight to go. This train carries Andy Pettitte in Game 1.