Yankees hoping to salvage finale behind CC
There is always a lot of attention on pitch velocities, especially when they correspond with any hint of trouble, but Joe Girardi said that he won’t be glued to the radar gun readings when CC Sabathia takes on the Tigers this afternoon.
“This is typical for CC,” Girardi said. “In the seasons that we’ve had, his velocity in April is not the same as it is in June, July, August. That’s been his DNA. I can’t tell you how high it’s going to go, but I know it’s going to go up. I believe it’s going to go up, just like it did last year.
“There were a lot of pitches he threw 89, 90 mph early in the season. But I think, because of what he went through last year, I think people are paying closer attention to it. But this is not abnormal for CC.”
Sabathia has said numerous times that he does not get caught up in marquee pitching matchups – a lesson he learned the hard way in his young Indians days, when he tried to match Pedro Martinez pitch-for-pitch and wound up heading to the showers early – but this promises to be a good one with Sabathia and Justin Verlander locking up. Girardi said his hitters don’t need any reminders about the mission here today.
“They know what they have to do,” Girardi said. “The thing about Justin is, he has four swing-and-miss pitches. You have to be patient on him. You have to hope he’s having a hard time commanding a few early in the game, because once he gets on a roll, he’s pretty tough.”
There was a nice pregame ceremony to honor Mariano Rivera. Tigers manager Jim Leyland shook hands with Rivera behind home plate and unveiled the team’s gift to the retiring 43-year-old, a photo display of Rivera pitching at both Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park. The display also included glass bottles containing dirt from the pitcher’s mound at both ballparks. Rivera doffed his cap to the cheering crowd and raised both hands in appreciation, offering Leyland a hug.
The Yankees and Tigers are underway. Lineups for both teams and expanded game information is available via MLB GameDay.