Yankees

Hartnett: CC Sabathia Channels Greatness Of ‘Louisiana Lightning’ In Yankees’ 4-1 Victory

CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia allowed just one hit and struck out 14 over seven innings in the Yankees’ 4-1 win over the visiting Mariners on July 26, 2011. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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‘Hart of the Order’
By Sean Hartnett
» More Columns

Sometimes when watching a perfect game bid we tend to get a little ahead of ourselves.  Rather than sitting back and enjoying what unfolds in front of our eyes, we begin counting down the outs and are caught rushing to conclusions.

It’s an inevitable thing whether you’re a broadcaster calling the action, a member of the media or a fan sitting in crowd or watching a game on TV.  We all want to see history but CC Sabathia still left fans in awe Tuesday night in his quest for perfection.  Although failing to go the distance or completing a perfect game, CC struck out 14 batters in seven innings as he battled through two separate rain delays.

Maybe the best pitching performances are occasions where a challenge is presented rather than ones that look the prettiest in the box score.  Moments like Kerry Wood racking up 20 strikeouts in his major league debut is remembered with greater reverence than most perfect games.  Some Yankee fans hold Ron Guidry’s 18-strikeout game in 1978 in higher regard than the recent perfect games of David Wells and David Cone.

In most cases, the opposition provides adversity for a pitcher to contend with but the Seattle Mariners’ lineup has been feeble all season.  Seattle ranks last in the majors in runs scored and batting average.  Even the consistently splendid Ichiro Suzuki is suffering through a poor year, leaving only second baseman Dustin Ackley as the team’s only .280-plus hitter.

The elements took the place of the weak Seattle bats as Sabathia’s main foe on Tuesday.  If not for the interruption of two delays, CC may have achieved immortality in the record books joining the 20 men before him to throw a perfect game.

A backdrop of lightning and rain was fitting as there was an almost superhuman quality to what Sabathia was achieving on the mound.  He was ‘bringing it’ not like a mortal man but something closer to Thor, God of Thunder.  After striking out his seventh consecutive batter, it looked as if he was on the verge of putting in an all-time great performance only to see the tarp come out to halt his progress.

CC was well on his way to making a serious run at not only a perfect game but Guidry’s team record of 18 strikeouts in a single game.  If only the weather had cooperated, fans might have had the chance to see him equal or overtake a record most Yankee fans considered to be impossible to match.  Sabathia was doing his best imitation of the Yankee great nicknamed ‘Louisiana Lightning’ but maybe he’ll one day make another attempt at ‘Gator’s’ greatness.

What did you make of Sabathia’s performance Tuesday night?  Share your impressions below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.