Add CC Sabathia to the chorus of people who questioned the Yankees’ strategy in their ALDS loss to the Rays.
From the ill-fated pitching plan in Game 2, to how Aroldis Chapman was deployed in Game 5 and Chapman’s pitch selection to Mike Brosseau, Sabathia was not a fan.
The retired left-hander, currently listed as a special adviser to general manager Brian Cashman, said the Yankees should have used either Deivi Garcia, Masahiro Tanaka or J.A. Happ as a traditional starter in Game 2, when Garcia was pulled after just one inning and Happ came on to start the second, with Tanaka held back for Game 3.
“We tried to play their game and they beat us at it and it ended up costing us the series, is how I feel about it,” Sabathia said on his most recent “R2C2” podcast with Ryan Ruocco.
“All we talk about is this kid’s [Garcia’s] character and how mature he is and I feel it was a perfect time to let him rock, let Masa rock, let J.A. Happ rock,” Sabathia said. “Any one of those guys start the game and we score five runs, we win Game 2.”
And going to Chapman in the seventh inning of Game 5 was a mistake, as well.
“I mean like, he’s gonna get seven outs?” Sabathia said. “What the f—k? I’m sorry, but come on man. What are you doing?”
Since relievers like Chapman and Zack Britton aren’t used for more than one inning during the regular season, they shouldn’t be asked to do it in the playoffs — certainly on consecutive nights, according to Sabathia.
“The way we use our relievers all year because we have so many of them lined up, I hate them to sit down and get up,” Sabathia said. “They never end the inning and get back up. So you want [Chapman] to do that s—t two times and he [doesn’t] ever do that.”
Chapman struck out Brandon Lowe to end the seventh and got Randy Arozarena out to start the bottom of the eighth before Brosseau came to the plate — and that’s where Sabathia was unhappy with Chapman’s pitch selection.
“He had him set up for the strikeout if he threw him the slider,” Sabathia said of the final pitch of the at-bat. “If [Chapman] backs up with another slider right there, it’s strike three and he’s on to the next hitter… Gary [Sanchez] put down a slider and [Chapman] shook and threw a fastball. He could have thrown a split up there and struck that guy out.”
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