August 3, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE
If you follow the right people, after the third inning you started seeing mentions of something special going on. Unless you were listening on the radio, then you might have heard whispers of the same thing. CC Sabathia clearly had everything working tonight, just not that little extra to make it special. Those whispers and casual mentions of something special might have jinxed him if you're a child, but it's past bedtime, so the normal people realize it was talking about a perfect game/no-hitter after nine batters.
Sabathia didn't do anything special tonight, at least not in a historic sense, but he went the distance and gave the bullpen a second straight day of rest. For eight innings, the only people to reach base for Seattle were Miguel Olivo and Casper Wells, though he barely counts because his time there was so limited. Dustin Ackley's two-run homer in the ninth made Sabathia's line look a little worse than it probably should have, but that's what happens when you walk Brendan Ryan. Even if you are in the middle of a two hit, ten strikeout performance, if you walk Brendan Ryan, someone, something or both will step in make sure there is punishment.
Trying to craft a narrative for the offense in this game is kind of difficult. There wasn't any one player in particular that sparked the offense; everyone did their part at various random intervals. Ichiro Suzuki kept his Steve Sax hit streak alive with another one-fer night, Curtis Granderson drove him in, Russell Martin had a couple hits, Raul Ibanez had an RBI single through the area vacated by the imaginary shift late in the game; random blurbs about random offense.
And there was Eric Chavez. Before finding another ridiculous way to appear injured in the eighth, he hit a fly ball to right that is an out in 29 other stadiums. That ball was not in 29 other stadiums because that's impossible; it was only in Yankee Stadium, so it went for a two-run homer. It's probably a safe bet to say that one will be towards the bottom of HitTracker tomorrow morning.
It was only the Mariners will be the line, but the Mariners aren't playing like the Mariners right now. Did you know they're only eight games below .500 with tonight's loss? They are, and they were on a seven game winning streak coming into the game. Sabathia cruised through a hot Mariners lineup for eight innings, hit a slight bump to start the ninth, but still slammed the door shut for a complete game. It was only the Mariners because Sabathia made them look like the Mariners.
Play of the Game: Eric Chavez's two-run home run in the sixth. (+17.1%)
Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill against Yankee fans' public enemy number one Felix Hernandez tomorrow afternoon. Perhaps the polarizing feeling of hatred for injuring Alex Rodriguez and longing to see him in pinstripes will tear fans apart as they watch tomorrow. Not literally, at least I would hope not, but bring something plastic and easily rinsable if you're going to the game tomorrow just in case.