Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why CC Remains the Only Sure Thing

With the boatload of pitching that the Yankees now find themselves with, CC Sabathia remains the only sure thing in the rotation. Don't get me wrong.  I love the additions of Kuroda and Pineda in the Yankees starting rotation, but let's not forget that neither of them have pitched in particularly difficult divisions offensively. Both, Kuroda and Pineda pitched in the friendly confines of Safeco Field and Dodger Stadium, respectively. Neither of the pitchers are battle tested, as CC is. With Kuroda, there is no doubt that he is a workhorse who pitches every fifth day and gave his Dodger teams a legitimate chance to win. In 2011, he had a sparkling 3.07 ERA and posted career highs in strikeouts and earned run average. Let's not forget however, that he pitched on a .500 team in the NL West with no pressure to perform in key games. That makes him far from a sure thing. Also, he did not accept a trade to the Bronx last season, leaving me to wonder whether or not he was skeptical about how his numbers would turn out in the beast of the east, facing the Red Sox.
Pineda was a top tier prospect in the Mariners system who showed that he could be a legitimate number one in the first half of 2011. He was an all-star on a team that went on to carry a 17 game losing streak in August. His numbers plummeted shortly after the all-star break, where he carried an inflated ERA and his stuff was not fooling as many major league hitters. Let's not forget that he was pitching many of his games in pitcher friendly Safeco Field, making his ERA deceptive. The Yankees acquired him from Seattle, hoping that someday he will be a number one for the Yankees. He has yet to develop a third pitch, but with some extra work in spring training that could change. Remember what happened when Ivan Nova was sent down and was called up again? This is the ideal situation for Pineda, who carries an intimidating presence on the mound. CC Sabathia is a veteran starter whose dominance season after season is difficult to match, especially while pitching in the AL East. Will Kuroda crack under the pressure of flashing lights? Will Pineda develop into an ace starter if he masters the changeup? Time will tell. One thing remains certain however, and it is that CC Sabathia will remain the Yankees ace for years to come.

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