CC Sabathia delivered a heroic, complete-game performance for the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, sending the Bronx Bombers to the League Championship Series, where they will have home-field advantage against the Detroit Tigers.
Yankee fans are pretty stoked Sunday morning -- understandably so -- and Sabathia is the main reason why. In his starts in Game 1 and Game 5, he got all but one out. Even when the Yankees' bats didn't deliver to their full potential in Game 5, Sabathia was more than enough, holding the Orioles to just one run, even escaping a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning.
William Juliano of Pinstriped Bible broke down just how historically dominant Sabathia was in such a big moment, comparing his game score (80) against history, and history was kind to the big lefty:
"By going the distance, Sabathia became the first Yankees' pitcher to throw a postseason complete game since Roger Clemens one-hit the Mariners in game 4 of the 2000 ALCS. In addition, Sabathia's game score of 80 was the highest since Clemens beat the Mets in game two of the Subway Series as well as the 14th best mark in franchise history. Sabathia's gem was also only the third complete game by a Yankee in sudden death and first since Ralph Terry closed out the 1962 World Series. Finally, the left hander's 17 2/3 innings were the most by any Yankee pitcher in a five-game postseason series, and his two victories pushed the Bronx Bombers' record to 10-2 in postseason games he has started."
Sabathia's start was only surpassed in this year's postseason so far by Detroit's Justin Verlander, who threw a complete-game shutout Thursday to send the Tigers to the Bronx. Manager Jim Leyland will have another day to let Verlander rest up, but if both skippers stay true to their rotation, it would be Sabathia vs. Verlander in Game 4.