On-Base Perception

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CC Sabathia has mixed record in elimination games

New York Yankees' starting pitcher CC Sabathia wipes

New York Yankees' starting pitcher CC Sabathia wipes his head from sweat while pitching against the Baltimore Orioles' in the bottom of the first inning during the American League Division Series at in Oriole Park at Camden Yards Oct. 7, 2012. (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

Officially, CC Sabathia is 2-0 in postseason elimination games. Unofficially, it's a little more complicated than that.

Fresh in Yankees fans memories is his most recent effort in one of them, Game 5 of the American League Division Series against Baltimore. In that start, Sabathia pitched a complete game, allowing four hits, two walks and one run (earned). He struck out nine while throwing 121 pitches.

But that dominance is not the rule for Sabathia.

On Oct. 20, 2010, the Yankees were facing elimination by the Rangers in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series. Sabathia did get the win that day, but he labored and was constantly in trouble. He pitched six innings, allowing 11 hits, including a home run. But he allowed just two runs (both earned) and struck out seven before turning the game over to Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera.

Though not a start, Sabathia also pitched in relief during Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS after starter Ivan Nova went down early with an injury. He didn't earn a decision, but gave up two hits, two walks and one run (earned) in 1.1 innings of work. He struck out four.

Overall in the playoffs, Sabathia is 9-4 with a 4.25 ERA in 18 games (17 starts). That 4.25 ERA is three-quarters of a run higher than his career 3.50 regular season ERA. So it's not just elimination games where he can have a tendency to be shaky.

Tags: CC Sabathia , Yankees

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