Lately, when CC Sabathia has taken the mound, Yankees’ relievers have been able to take the day off. In his last four starts, the big lefty has gone at least eight innings, the longest such streak in the majors this season. Considering the bullpen was used for a combined 19 2/3 innings in the games before his starts, Sabathia’s stretch of durability couldn’t have come at a better time.
Over his career, Sabathia has been no stranger to going deep into a game, so pitching eight innings doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment. However, his current streak is not only tied for the highest in his career, but since 2009, ranks second to Cliff Lee’s amazing run of 10 consecutive starts of eight innings, which was established last season.
Most Consecutive Starts of At Least Eight Innings, 2009-2011
At his current pace, Sabathia would end the season with approximately 245 innings, giving him three straight seasons with at least 230. If the Yankees’ ace accomplishes that feat, he’d become the first Yankee to do it since Ed Figueroa in 1976 to 1978. What’s more, he would also become only the 23rd Yankees’ pitcher to throw at least 230 innings in any three seasons, and the eighth in the last 50 years.
Seasons with At Least 230 Innings by a Yankees’ Pitcher, Since 1961
Sabathia is quickly establishing himself as one of the most durable (not to mention effective) starters in franchise history. In fact, he has been so good in his first two-plus seasons that it’s easy to sometimes take him for granted. However, his contribution to the team can’t be overstated, a realization that will likely come into play this off season. Should the big lefty decide to opt out, the Yankees may have no choice but to go just as deep as Sabathia.