NEW YORK — CC Sabathia left it all on the field, but it wasn’t enough for the Cheap New York Yankees Jerseys, who lost a lot more than the fourth game of the American League Championship Series in an 8-3 defeat at the hands of the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
In what could have been his last appearance in pinstripes, Sabathia’s knee buckled and his shoulder seemed to give out after he hurled his third pitch to George Springer while trying to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning.
Sabathia, who along with outfielder Brett Gardner is one of the two remaining members of the 2009 World Series championship team, limped off the field with tears in his eyes. He exited alongside head trainer Steve Donohue, serenaded by a standing ovation from the Yankees’ faithful.
It might have been the last time the 39-year-old left-hander, who dealt with chronic right knee problems all season and most recently a sore left shoulder that kept him off the AL Division Series roster, would throw a pitch at what has been his home ballpark for over a decade. Sabathia announced in February that 2019 would be his 19th and final season in the majors.
“[CC] leaves it all on the field. I don’t know the severity of what’s going on with him, but you can never say that man never gave his all,” outfielder Aaron Judge said. “Every single time he went out there, you had to rip the ball or rip his jersey off to get that man off the mound. He got everything out of that arm; that’s a warrior right there. That’s why he’s been a leader of this team for so many years, and that’s why he has so much respect around the game, and it was tough to see; he left it all out there.”
NEW YORK — The quiet spaces between actual games in the American League Championship Series have increasingly become filled with topics related to pitch tipping, sign stealing and other aspects of gamesmanship, much of it pointed at theCheap Houston Astros Jerseys. Finally, after one accusation too many, Astros manager AJ Hinch’s patience with the subject seems to have worn thin.
“I think it’s kind of funny,” Hinch said during a teleconference Wednesday, when Game 4 between Houston and the New York Yankees was postponed because of rain. He seemed less amused Thursday.
“We talked about this the other day,” Hinch said. “And in reality it’s a joke. But Major League Baseball does a lot to ensure the fairness of the game. There’s people everywhere. If you go through the dugouts and the clubhouses and the hallways, there’s like so many people around that are [responsible for security].
“And then when I get contacted about some questions about whistling, it made me laugh because it’s ridiculous. And had I known that it would take something like that to set off the Yankees or any other team, we would have practiced it in Spring Training. It apparently works, even when it doesn’t happen.”
The final straw for Hinch seems to be regarding accusations by the Yankees that the Astros were using whistles to signal pitch calls to their batters in Game 1, a 7-0 New York win. A source told ESPN.com that MLB has looked into the whistling charge and found no evidence of cheating. Hinch says that the scenario that was being looked into was virtually impossible given the security measures that the league has in place for the postseason.
“The game in question, we got three hits and no runs,” Hinch said. “And so nobody heard it. You guys have audio, video, people in places, and nothing — and there’s no evidence of anything.
“So, to the Yankees, there’s nothing bad going on. Pitch tipping is a little bit of a different story. If you don’t want us to know the pitch is coming, don’t do something that demonstrates what pitch you’re going to pitch or what you’re going to throw. But they’re doing the same thing.”
For his part, Yankees manager Aaron Boone addressed the whistling issue by saying, “We’re confident that we’re buttoned up in every possible way and vigilant. I really don’t think it’s an issue.”
However, while not referring to the Astros specifically, Boone did say there are limits to how communication within games should be shared.
“There’s boundaries,” Boone said. “Yeah, we could have a conversation for days on that. So, yeah, there’s boundaries. There’s things you’re not allowed to do and things that are perfectly within the context of the game.”
Astros pitcher Justin Verlander was asked if his club was simply good at getting into opponents’ heads. He chuckled and said, “Maybe.” However, he said that when it comes to deciphering the ocean of data and video captured from the games in baseball these days, everyone has the same tools.
“I think Cheap MLB Jerseys has done an incredible job this year,” Verlander said. “There’s been someone in the video room every game of the season. Somebody is there full time. You’re not allowed to have a live feed anywhere in the stadium that the players have access to. They check all that. I think that’s been an incredible step forward for MLB to go against the trend of all this technology that’s out there.
“They did what I think was the best thing possible to resolve whatever issue, paranoia teams have. Obviously it didn’t resolve the paranoia — it’s still out there for every team.”
For Hinch, the shame of it is that accusations such as the ones that have surfaced this week detract from a dynamic matchup between 100-win teams with a trip to the World Series on the line. He, for one, is done with the issue.
“There’s nothing going on other than the competition on the field,” Hinch said. “The fact that I had to field the question before a really, really cool game at Yankee Stadium is unfortunate. But we can put it to rest. That will be the last question I answer about pitch tipping or pitch stealing.”
Left-handed reliever Zack Britton, who spent eight seasons with the Cheap Baltimore Orioles Jerseys before being traded to New York last year, reiterated the reputation Sabathia carries throughout the league.
“I played against CC longer than I’ve played with him so I know the respect that opposing teams have for him,” Britton said. “He’s done it in the game, but obviously off the field, too. He’s really respected throughout the game, and guys know the type of career he’s had.”
Sabathia entered in the eighth inning to face his second batter of the postseason after reliever Adam Ottavino gave up a leadoff double to Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel reached on a fielding error by first baseman DJ LeMahieu. The inning unraveled with a second fielding error by infielder Gleyber Torres, a hit batsman and, just when Sabathia looked to get out of the inning against Springer, the injury happened.
LeMahieu, who had an uncharacteristic two-error game for the first time in his career, had to hold back his emotions in talking about Sabathia coming off the mound.
“Real tough. It was a tough night, then that happened. I feel for C,” he said. “From my perspective, this year in particular he’s given it everything he’s got, and I know he’s pitched through a lot, and it was tough to watch.”
Said outfielder Aaron Hicks: “It’s tough man, he’s a great person, a great player. He’s gonna be a Hall of Famer. To see a guy like that go out like that is, is not the way you want to see it. He means a lot to this team, a lot to his organization, and for him to go out like that, it’s not something you want.”
CC Sabathia, who is retiring after the season, left the field with tears in his eyes and to a standing ovation after being forced from Game 4 of the ALCS due to a shoulder injury. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Of the many things that befell the Yankees on Thursday night, their defensive mistakes proved costly against an Astros team that did everything right.
It was one thing for the Yankees to lose, and another one to lose in such an excruciating manner. The Yankees committed four errors, two of them in that eighth inning, the fourth time in franchise history they’ve had four errors in a postseason game, and the first since Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS (five errors).
And while Yankees’ pitchers did give up two three-run home runs, one by Springer off starter Masahiro Tanaka and one by shortstop Carlos Correa off usually unfailing reliever Chad Green, the offense had another subpar performance.
The Yankees might have opened the ALCS with a bang, but they are close to finishing it with a whimper.
Their offense, which averaged 5.4 runs per game at home during the regular season, fifth best in the AL, combined for four runs over the past two games at Yankee Stadium. When including the two runs in their 3-2 loss at Minute Maid Park in Game 2, the Yankees have scored a total of six runs in the past three games of the series.
The Yankees’ first and only win of this ALCS came in Game 1, when they scored seven runs, which they haven’t been close to since.
“You got to have a short memory in Cheap Baseball Jerseys, especially after a game like that,” Judge said. “That’s the biggest thing. We can’t sit around here and mope around about this game or the past couple of days, we have to refocus and refuel and get ready for the game tomorrow.”
With their season on the line and Houston holding a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Yankees will have lefty James Paxton versus Astros ace Justin Verlander on the mound for a do-or-die Game 5. Paxton told ESPN that Sabathia would be his inspiration when he takes the mound Friday.
“Every time he’s on the mound, he gives us everything he’s got, and that’s what he did tonight. CC has had an amazing career, and it was too bad to see him get hurt like that,” he said. “But it’s also just a testament to just the heart he has for this team, going out there and giving us everything he’s got until the last pitch.”
“I have to go out there and do my thing,” Paxton added. “I have to attack these guys and go to battle for my team, and give everything out there, just like CC did.”