CC Sabatia and the Almost Perfect Storm

Rain delay interrupts bid for perfect game but not Sabathia's hot streak

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Jul 27, 2011  |  Updated 8:14 AM EDT
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CC Sabatia and the Almost Perfect Storm

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The face of dashed perfection.

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CC Sabathia probably could have pitched the Yankees to a garden-variety win against the Mariners using his right hand, so the decision to remain a lefty promised something even better.

Did he deliver? If you've been paying attention at all to this season, that's a question you really don't need to ask.

Of course he delivered and he came very close to delivering a little bit of history on top of another dominant victory. Sabathia flirted with a perfect game into the seventh inning, fighting off a rain delay that probably had more to do with losing the bid than the team on the other side of the diamond.

Maybe Brendan Ryan still gets that single in the seventh inning if Sabathia wasn't forced to cool his heels during a 30-minute rain delay in the sixth, but it certainly felt like the intense storm that hit the Bronx threw Sabathia off his game just enough to interrupt something special. David Cone was able to fight off a similar delay in his perfecto, but Sabathia, who struck out seven straight before the delay, wasn't able to finish the job.

That might be just as well. It is depressing enough watching the Mariners these days without adding a 17th straight loss in a perfect game to the ledger.

And, nice as it might be to have such a game on your resume, Sabathia doesn't need the bells and whistles of perfection to let anybody know how well he's pitching right now. The 4-1 win was his league-best 15th of the season, he's 9-1 in his last 10 starts and has allowed five runs in his last 54.2 innings pitched.

That's the stuff that Cy Young Awards are made of, although Sabathia has a heck of a fight on his hands with Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver for that little piece of hardware. It is also the stuff that you dream about when you hand a player a free agent contract like the one the Yankees handed Sabathia and like the one they will hand him after this season to keep him from opting out of his deal.

You'd be hard pressed to find another Yankee free agent signing who has produced at Sabathia's level since Reggie Jackson and Jackson was never thrust into the role that Sabathia has had to play for this year's rotation. He's got so little backup that any loss by him feels doubly crushing as a result, which makes it nice that we rarely have to experience those losses.

Instead we get to see Sabathia completely dominate another opponent while striking out a career-high 14 batters on a stormy night in the Bronx. Who says that isn't perfect?

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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