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Hartnett: Yankees’ Rotation Unraveling, Need CC Sabathia To Step Up

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CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia reacts after allowing an RBI triple by Rays’ Sam Fuld during the fifth inning on July 21, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

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

A hastily put together tower of cards is likely to fall apart.  The makeup of the New York Yankees’ rotation is sub-par for franchise that is able to spend in excess of $200M on payroll.  Cracks are beginning to resurface and this past series against the Kansas City Royals yielded more worry than good feelings among Yankee fans.

Despite their 51-73 last place AL Central record, The Royals are actually a decent offensive ballclub.  They rank middle of the pack in most batting statistics and could be described as a team that prides itself on manufacturing runs.  Their batters aren’t exactly prodigious when it comes to hitting the longball but Kansas City proceeded to smack around Yankee starters as if they were the Boston Red Sox or Texas Rangers.

If not for the heroics of Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter, the Yankees may have suffered an embarrassing sweep instead of actually taking two games out of three.  Even the best offenses can’t always bail out ineffective starting pitching.  If A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon pitched as they did this series against the Red Sox or Rangers, the Yankees would have been on the end of a sound beating.

CC Sabathia has been the lynchpin of Joe Girardi’s staff.  Without him, I couldn’t imagine the Yankees keeping pace with the Red Sox.  His 16 wins have gone a long way toward the Bombers being a half-game ahead of Boston in the AL East standings.  I might go as far as saying that if Sabathia wasn’t wearing pinstripes, the Yankees would probably be battling it out with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angles for a Wild Card place.

Sabathia is coming off two consecutive poor outings where he was charged with losses.  On August 6th, his struggles against the Red Sox continued as he surrendered 7 earned runs in 6.0 innings.  In his most recent start on August 12th, CC served up 5 solo home runs to the Tampa Bay Rays.  Sabathia needs to right the ship both individually and for his team when he takes the hill tonight against the light-hitting Minnesota Twins.

If his weak run of starts continues, Yankee fans will be even more concerned about how their rotation stacks up against tough offenses come playoff time.  The Yankees could use a statement outing from Sabathia to inspire confidence in the rest of their rotation arms and inject belief into their fan-base.  Otherwise, more questions will be asked about a rotation that looks top-heavy even when CC is performing at his best.

Can CC turn things around and carry the Yankees in the postseason?  Is there enough talent behind Sabathia for the Yankees to match-up against the Red Sox and Rangers? Share your thoughts below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.

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