Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sabathia Keeps Yankees Close to Red Sox;
Players of the Day for Saturday, July 18, 2009 American League When the Yankees acquired C.C. Sabathia in the off-season, the front office brass was probably envisioning just this kind of scenario, with the Red Sox up in the standings and the Yankees needing a win from their stud starter. On Saturday, Sabathia outdueled Detroit's ace, Justin Verlander, over 7 innings, leaving the game after Alex Rodriguez homered and Melky Cabrera singled home another run to give New York a 2-0 lead. The burly lefty allowed five hits and three walks, but kept the Tigers off the scoreboard, improving his record to 9-6 and getting the Yankees to within 2 games of Boston, losers at Toronto, with a 2-1 win. Sabathia has had an up-and-down season, but still has enough in the tank to deliver the goods in big games. Though not the overpowering pitcher from last season, when he tossed 10 complete games and five shutouts, he may be hitting midseason form at the right time, though it's doubtful that Yankee manager Joe Girardi will allow his ace to be overworked. Sabathia does have 2 complete games and one shutout this season, and after throwing 116 pitches on Saturday, everyone in the AL is aware of his amazing stamina. National League Stationed near the bottom of the NL West, 18 games out, there haven't been many highlights for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, but starter Dan Haren has quietly put together an excellent first half and continued into the second half with a superb outing in Arizona's 4-2 win over St. Louis. Haren shut down the Central division-leading Cardinals on 4 hits, 2 walks and 1 earned run over 8 innings, improving his record to 10-5. Considering the Diamondbacks' record (39-52), Haren's stats are mind-boggling: 1.96 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 137 Ks in 138 innings. With a lot of people viewing San Francisco's Tim Lincecum as odds-on to win the Cy Young Award, Haren is putting up numbers the voters will have to strongly consider. The win didn't do much for the D-Backs, who are hopelessly out of any race, but the Cardinals' loss tightened up the NL Central race. St. Louis leads the Cubs and Brewers - both winners on Saturday - by just 2 games, with Houston 3 back.