Wednesday, May 10, 2017

We need to talk about Carsten Charles

One of the exquisite joys of young players is that, if they stink, you can disappear them. No muss, no fuss. Nobody gets a farewell tour. If Zolio doesn't hit, he goes to Scranton faster than you can say "Jim Comey." Last year, it practically took an act of Congress to jettison A-Rod and Tex, and by the time their parting tributes were proffered, the season was basically in ruins.

Which brings us to CC Sabathia, and you all know where I'm going here. Lately, he's been the kind of disaster worthy of being linked to climate change. Here are his last four starts.

Pittsburgh: 5 innings, 4 earned runs.
Baltimore: 5.2 innings, 7 earned runs.  

Toronto: 4 innings, 6 earned runs. 
Last night, Cincinnati: 6 innings, 5 earned runs. 

Somehow, the Yankees won two of those four games, both in ridiculous shootouts, the kind that are unsustainable over the season. (Let's recognize that Starling Castro won't win the batting crown, and the two Aarons won't finish one-two in the MVP vote.) If Jordan Montgomery had been greeted the way CC has been, he'd be in Coal Country by now, working on his stamp collection. But Sabathia, a borderline Hall of Famer, has earned himself a long, retractable leash. For better or worse, we are tethered to him like Ahab to the leviathan. 

Last night, in a blowout second inning that basically killed us, CC coaxed two middling grounders - both possible inning-ending DPs - that rolled into the outfield... and the Reds carousel kept turning. Girardi stayed with him - (a microcosm, by the way, of how Joe will deal with CC over the season) - and he somehow toiled six innings - a human rain forest of sweat that was difficult to watch. (YES directors, can we get a wider lens?) The Yanks are now back in second place, and Baltimore is starting to resemble those trackers in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who keep inspiring the question, "Who are those guys?" Yeesh. Who are those guys?

Well, they are us: A mix of disposable youth and resurgent veterans, who are enjoying career springs. I hate to say this, but it's still Boston that we must watch from behind the couch. Our six-game winning streak, which was snapped last night, has opened a five-game lead over the Redsocks. Nice, but it can vanish in a week. (For now, they have their own CC: Mr. Drew Pomeranz, who went four and gave up six earned runs last night, against Milwaukee. Way to go, Drew!) 

So... what to do about CC? 

First, let's dispel this fantasy notion that he'll happily transition into a bullpen LOOGY. If that happens, then I'm the Easter Bunny. The guy turns 37 in July. He'll move to the bullpen for a Bud Selig One-Game Bullshit Playoff, but not for the final four months of his career. There is a chance he'll adjust and throw a few decent games - he's done it before. (After his first three outings this year, his ERA stood at 1.47. It's now 5.77.) And there's the chance that it's over, that he's a walking zombie and just doesn't know it. If so, the Yankees will launch their established protocol for voting tribal elders off the island.

He'll get two, maybe three, more horrendous starts. If he doesn't improve, the Yankees will find some "injury" - the mysterious tweaking of that existential gonad - that sends him to the DL. He will hang around Tampa, channeling the ghost of Billy Connors, pitch a rehab assignment in Scranton or Trenton, and then attempt a reboot. It could be a three-week turnaround. From there, he'll get another four or five starts. Our on-paper liability: Seven losses. Our psychic liability: Much worse. 

Thus far, our starting rotation has been a poker player's dream sequence. We drew three aces (Tanaka, Severino and Pineda) and a jack (Montgomery). Sabathia is the joker - our first reminder of how tenuous this Yankee resurgence can be. His next two starts should tell us whether this is just a bad blip, or we need to start planning a farewell tour. Saying goodbye is never easy. This is not a Zolio. It is a Carsten Charles, and we better be careful.

9 comments:

cabish47 said...

Historical perspective. Joe Torre ran a fading David Cone out every five days in 2000, and he went 4 and 14. That could be CC's year.

DutchFan said...

This morning I watched the condensed game on MLB network.
Afterwards I had to shower again - sweat poured from my laptop. Sorrow flows.

DutchFan said...

Sorrow floats.

John M said...

CC, CC, CC...don't we have this discussion every year, or practically every year? I think last year we didn't have it, at least not as seriously. This big galoot has been dead weight for what, four or five years now? And Girardi treats him like he's made of glass, just keeps trotting him out, no matter how bad he's doing, for the 5 or 6 innings that bury us...why? It's never made any sense. Eating innings isn't good if you're puking runs at the same time.

CC should've retired several years ago, got his drinking under control, enjoyed a great life with his family. Instead, he's going to show flashes of brilliance amid game after game of 5+ runs in 5+ innings.

Meanwhile, young pitchers who deserve a shot, like Cessa and Green--who did pretty well, if I recall correctly, when given the chance--languish on the Scranton Express.

This is a dumb way to run a ball club.

The Ghost of Yankees Past said...

el duque, good analysis on CC. He has started slow before , so hopefully he will improve . The positive is after the five spot he gave up the other night he pitched very well. Granted that is like closing the barn door after the horse is out. However it is a positive sign. With his diminished velocity he has little margin for error.

He may be done, but only time will tell if he can contribute late into the season. He certainly should be given a few more starts to see if he can turn it around. He has before and hopefully can again. He is a competitor and a good influence on our young pitchers. All that said , if he can't get going you have described a good glide path for him to take.

The Sayonara Kid said...

Not to hijack the thread, but... YES!

Rock 'n' roll maxims are garbage — and so is this one. We declare this and that about rock 'n' roll because it's bigger than us; it's dirty, it's dumb, it's truth and so on down the line of superlatives, none of which mean much when throwing a fist in the air to a killer riff. Sheer Mag, for the most part, gets this.

http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/05/10/527652058/sheer-mag-share-just-cant-get-enough-finally-announces-debut-album?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nprmusic&utm_term=music&utm_content=20170510

el duque said...

Yeah, the boys' band put out a song today. I've heard the full album - out in July - and they are sticking close to their roots. Songs that absolutely shake the rafters.

Anonymous said...

I GOTTA GO WITH JOHN M ON CC...... HE HAS BEEN SHOT SINCE 2014......SHOT.
WE CAN'T KEEP TROTTING HIM OUT THERE.
I DON'T WANNA HEAR, "HE HAD JUST ONE BAD INNING." THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN HEARING FOR 4 YEARS.....

YET, EL DUQUE WILL BE CORRECT, AND THEY WILL FIND A "TWEAKED GONAD" THAT WILL SEND HIM TO THE DL.... TAMPA, AND REHAB, AFTER ABOUT 3 OR 4 WEEKS, HE WILL RETURN.
HE WON'T GO AWAY FROM THE STARTING ROTATION........ INSERT SIGH HERE.......

Alphonso said...

I found my tweaked gonad in a bottle of Crown Royal.

Maybe CC will do the same.