New York Post
UP TO CC TO SAVE SEASON
SABATHIA ON MOUND IN VIRTUAL MUST-WIN TODAY
CLEVELAND — CC Sabathia sat down behind a podium in the interview room on Thursday at Progressive Field and laughed.
“I remember the first time I was here after I got drafted,” Sabathia said before the Yankees opened the ALDS against Cleveland. “Things are different now. I was 17.”
At the time, Sabathia had just been picked in the first round of the 1997 draft by the Indians, 20th overall, out of Vallejo (Calif.) High School.
Now he’s back as a 37-yearold who not long ago thought his career was in jeopardy because of pain in his surgically repaired right knee. And he’ll be trying to beat the Indians in Game 2 on Friday.
Though much was made of the decision to start Sabathia, and not Masahiro Tanaka or Luis Severino in Game 2, the Yankees may have the right man on the mound in a virtual must-win after the Yankees were blanked 4-0 in Game 1. In 10 starts following a loss this season, Sabathia is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA.
But in August, it seemed like Sabathia may never be on a stage this big again.
“I think it was a good year for me up until that point,” Sabathia said of the Aug. 8 outing against the Blue Jays that landed him on the disabled list for 10 days.
“I had that scare in Toronto. I didn’t really know what the future would hold. Getting home and talking with my wife, just talking with the training staff being able to get back 10 days later and be able to pitch and help the team get into the playoffs. It feels good to be sitting here.”
In eight starts since returning from the injury, Sabathia is 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA and pitched well in all but one outing. He also pitched better on the road, with a 3.18 ERA, compared to a 4.20 ERA at Yankee Stadium.
Regardless of where he got the start, Sabathia was looking forward to pitching in the playoffs for the first time since 2012, when he willed the Yankees into the ALCS by dominating the Orioles twice in the ALDS and then gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings in Detroit’s series-clinching win in Game 4.
That led to three straight subpar seasons before Sabathia had something of a resurgence in 2016, which continued this year.
And now he’s back in the postseason.
“Obviously, it’s exciting to come back to Cleveland,” Sabathia said. “I kind of grew up here. To be able to pitch in the playoff game here is going to a lot of fun, even if it’s on the other side.”