Wednesday, July 27, 2011

C.C. Sabathia, Ron Guidry, Cy Young and 18 Strikeouts

My son and I attended last night’s Yankees-Mariners game and were treated to a gem of a game. C.C. Sabathia continued on his march to another dominating season. In between a few rain delays, Sabathia utterly dominated the Mariners. Sabathia took a perfect game into the 7th inning fanning 14 Mariners while allowing only 1-hit and 3-walks leading the Yankees to a 4-1 victory. This loss was the 17th straight defeat for the Mariners tying the 1926 Boston Red Sox, 1962 Mets, and 1977 Atlanta Braves with 17 losses in a row. This leaves the Mariners four losses short of the American League record of 21 straight losses currently held by the 1988 Baltimore Orioles and six losses shy of the Major League record 23 straight losses held by the 1961 Philadelphia Phillies. But I digress, back to Sabathia and the Yankees.

With his victory last night, Sabathia is 15-5 with a 2.56 ERA with 3 complete games and 1 shutout in 23 games started. Sabathia has struck out 156 while walking only 45 and allowing 143 hits for a WHIP of 1.15. It’s a shame that Sabathia will probably be overlooked for Cy Young consideration once again. Many of the voters have the misconception that since Sabathia pitches for the Yankees he’s expected to win. As if winning games day in and day out playing on the Yankees is a given. Sure, Sabathia (and every other Yankees starter) is given one of the best lineups in baseball batting behind him but he still has to go out and do the job which in the last three seasons with the Yankees he’s done so at the tune of a 55-20 record. Not to say that the other Cy Young candidates such as Justin Verlander and Jared Weaver aren’t deserving of consideration, but it just seems that Sabathia doesn’t get the accolades he deserves when it comes to Cy Young voting while he plays on the Yankees. We’ll see how it plays out at the end of the season.

In total, three Yankees pitchers (Sabathia, Robertson and Rivera) struck out a total of 18 Mariners tying the franchise record for strikeouts in a 9-inning game. This performance tied the achievement of another Yankees ace. The franchise record was set in 1978 against the California Angels. On June 17, 1978 Ron Guidry struck out 18 California Angels leaving him one strikeout behind the then Major League record of 19 strikeouts which was then held by five players (Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Hugh Daily and Charlie Sweeney). The current record is 20 strikeouts in a 9-inning game and his held by Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens (who achieved the feat twice). During a tumultuous 1978 season for the New York Yankees, Guidry was the constant bright spot for the team. Guidry led the league with a 25-3 record with a 1.78 ERA in 273.2 innings pitched with 16 complete games and 9 shutouts in 35 games. He struck out 248 while walking 72 and allowing 187 hits for a WHIP of 0.946. Guidry was a dominating constant in a season where the Yankees overcame the distractions of internal squabbling and managerial turmoil.

The Yankees had three different managers that season (Billy Martin, Dick Howser and Bob Lemon) and were 14.5 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox in July. By the end of the season, the Yankees were able to tie the Boston Red Sox for first place forcing a one game playoff in Boston which was capped by Bucky Dent’s 3-run homerun for a 5-4 victory and the AL East title. The Yankees would defeat their league nemesis the Kansas City Royals in four games in the AL Championship Series and would defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games in the 75th World Series. For his part, Guidry would win the AL Cy Young Award unanimously with all 28 first place votes.

Fast forwarding to today from 1978, can C.C. Sabathia continue his dominating season and possibly join Ron Guidry as Yankees pitchers to win the Cy Young? We’ll have to wait until after October to find that out. Until then, I’ll just have to keep watching the big guy game in and game out. On a separate little side note, is there anyone out there that still thinks that the Yankees overpaid for Sabathia?


For Further Reading:
- Click Here for C.C. Sabathia's career statistics from
- Click Here for Ron Guidry's career statistics from
- Click Here to access the List of Major League Baseball pitchers with 18 strikeouts or more in one game from
- Click Here to access the five longest losing streaks in MLB during the last 50 years from the article Daily list: Long baseball losing streaks dated July 25, 2011 from the Detroit Free Press website

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