Yankee pitcher C.C. Sabathia started against the Blue Jays on Monday night and had a pretty unique experience against the young opposition.
After nearly two decades as a MLB pitcher, C.C. Sabathia has probably forgotten more than most of us know about baseball.
The crafty veteran is in the middle of his 19th season and remains effective as he nears the end of his career, and as his approach has been greatly altered over the years. Once a fastball-dominant pitcher early in his career, Sabathia has adapted over time and maintains the ability to be an effective pitcher, even as he’s now facing off against hitters that are as much as 18 years younger than him.
In fact, Sabathia got to do just that on Monday night when he toed the rubber against the Blue Jays and their young lineup. It was a different experience for the veteran lefty, not just because he was seeing some of these emerging talents for the first time, but also because there had to be a weird familiarity to it.
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It sounds like pitching against Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had just that effect on the 6x All-Star, and probably because he had many great battles against Jr’s father, Vladimir Guerrero. In fact, the two of them squared off for 37 plate appearances while both were active in the big leagues, and Sabathia actually came out with the upper hand, for the most part, holding him to a slash line of .200/.216/.343 with just one home run and three RBI, and fanning him10 times.
Vlad Jr. isn’t the only second-generation player in Toronto these days, as the lineup already features Cavan Biggio as well, and inevitably they’ll have Bo Bichette join them sometime sooner than later. According to baseballreference.com, Sabathia never had the chance to pitch against the former Houston Astro great in Craig Biggio, but he was certainly more than aware of his accomplishments and abilities.
The whole situation wasn’t lost on Sabathia either, as he provided a pretty funny quote for Brych Hoch of mlb.com after the game.
He’s only half-serious of course, but I can imagine that Monday’s start was a bit of a surreal experience as he looked in at the sons of Hall of Famers from his generation in this game. He’s known for a while that his career is winding down, and chances are this will be the last season before he calls it a career, as he’s already stated as much.
If he keeps performing the way he has over the last four seasons, he could probably hang around another year if he really wanted to. After picking up the win with just two earned runs allowed over six innings, the former Cy Young winner is now 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA. The Blue Jays were reported interested in signing him before the 2018 season, but unfortunately he elected to stay in pinstripes. However, if he had come, hanging around the clubhouse with Biggio and Vlad Jr. may have been even more strange.