The 2013 season has been a trying one for the New York Yankees, and their fading playoff hopes may have been dealt a fatal blow on Monday as the team announced that starting pitcher CC Sabathia will miss the remainder of the season with a left hamstring strain.
LHP @CC_Sabathia suffered Grade 2 left hamstring strain in his last start. Recovery time is approximately 8 weeks.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 23, 2013
This is the latest in a long line of significant injuries that have held the Yanks back this season. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Kevin Youkilis have all missed significant time this year, and while the starting pitching was relatively unscathed, that is no longer the case.
As The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough admits, Sabathia's injury is the capper to an injury-riddled year for the Yankees:
CC Sabathia has been shut down for 2013 due to a hamstring strain suffered Friday. A fitting end to an awful season.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) September 23, 2013
Although Sabathia is viewed by most as New York's ace, he has suffered through the worst season of his 13-year career. Sabathia will finish the year 14-13 with a bloated 4.78 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He also struck out just 175 batters in 211 innings, which is his lowest strikeout total since 2006.
A noticeable drop in velocity was the main culprit, as the 33-year-old lefty's fastball resided in the low-90s for much of the year. Sabathia's most recent start was one of his best of the season, though, as he went seven innings and allowed just one run in a win over the San Francisco Giants on Friday.
Following the game, Sabathia seemed upbeat as he expressed belief that the Yankees could win out, according to Jim Baumbach of New York Newsday.
"We need to try to win out," he said. "Why couldn't we? Anything can happen. We got the guys in here. You saw what happened tonight."
A heart-wrenching 2-1 loss to the Giants on Sunday has put the Yankees in an even bigger hole, though, as they are now four games behind the Cleveland Indians for the American League's second wild-card spot with just six games remaining.
Another vintage Sabathia performance in the upcoming series against the Tampa Bay Rays could have potentially kept the Yanks in it for a little while longer, but New York is now in an even more precarious position.
Barring a miracle, the Yankees' 2013 season will be over in a week. At that point, the focus will shift toward the status of Sabathia and their other injured players. While Sabathia's injury shouldn't prevent him from being ready for spring training, there are plenty of question marks about his ability to be an elite pitcher moving forward.
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