CC Sabathia literally left it all out on the field for the Yankees, the final pitch of his career coming in last season’s ALCS at the expense of his Hall of Fame left shoulder.
Which makes it all the more damning that on the latest episode of his R2C2 podcast with Ryan Ruocco, Sabathia absolutely ripped the Yankees’ decision making regarding their pitching in their ALDS loss to the Rays.
“We tried to play their game and they beat us at it and it ended up costing us the series, is how I feel about it,” Sabathia, who was on the Yankees’ payroll as a special adviser to the GM this season, said on the podcast.
The first blow, of course, was the plan for Game 2.
“All we talk about is this kid’s (Garcia’s) character and how mature he is and I feel it was a perfect time to let him rock, let Masa(hiro Tanaka) rock, let J.A. Happ rock,” Sabathia said. “Any one of those guys start the game and we score five runs, we win Game 2.”
Next up on Sabathia’s hit list: reliever usage, specifically how many times someone warmed up and didn’t enter, and how the back-end duo of Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman were both tasked with getting more than six collective outs – and each more than three – on back-to-back nights, even after having multiple days off.
“The way we use our relievers all year because we have so many of them lined up, I hate them to sit down and get up,” Sabathia said. "They never end the inning and get back up. So you want (Chapman) to do that s—t two times and he never does that.”
Even more egregious, in CC’s eyes, was going to Chapman in the seventh inning in Game 5.
“I mean like, he’s gonna get seven outs?” Sabathia said. “What the f—k? I’m sorry, but come on man. What are you doing?”
Chapman got two before giving up the big blow to Mike Brosseau, and part of what irked Sabathia about the situation came simply from Chappy’s execution after seeing so many of the Rays’ hitter, especially Brosseau, so often.
“He had him set up for the strikeout if he threw him the slider,” Sabathia said of the final pitch of the at-bat. “If he backs up with another slider right there, it’s strike three and he’s on to the next hitter. Gary (Sanchez) put down a slider and he shook and threw a fastball. He could have thrown a split up there and struck that guy out.”
Alas, the one thing Sabathia didn’t note dote on too hard is how Chapman has now given up a crushing home run to kill the Yankees’ postseason run two years in a row, and he’d have a third on his resume if not for the heroics of his then-Cubs teammates in 2016.
“I feel terrible,” Chapman said after Game 5. “As the closer of this team, it’s part of my responsibility to go into a game where it’s either we’re going to win or we’re going to lose. It’s going to happen both ways.”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN