Even had CC Sabathia pitched well last night, who knows if it would've been enough to lock down a second Cy Young Award?
The groundswell for Felix Hernandez is building. The Mariners ace fired eight more brilliant innings in a 1-0 loss earlier Thursday, dropping him to 12-12 on the year.
Nevertheless, it's hard to shake the feeling this is shaping up as a (big air quotes) statement year by voters—the season they show us how smart they are by discounting the (even bigger air quotes) flawed statistics of wins and losses.
Had that happened, and CC got shut out on a 22-win season for a division winner, I can tell you I'd have Steven Seagal in Hard To Kill levels of vengeance ready to spill out on this site. "I'll take you to the bank, Senator Trent Baseball Writers Association of America...the BLOOD BANK."
But you can forget that now. There's no way in hell Sabathia is going to win the award, and he has nobody to blame but himself. The big man got shelled at home by the Rays, in a game against David Price, the other pitcher thought to be a Cy Young favorite.
It was a disappointing start on several levels for Sabathia, who had a chance to both polish his résumé and keep the Yankees comfortably ahead in first and failed at both. Price was no gem himself, but he did what Sabathia couldn't by keeping the damage to a minimum without his best stuff.
The Yankees head into the final nine games of the season with a half-game lead on the Rays and nine division games remaining against the Red Sox and Blue Jays. The Rays, meanwhile, have a far easier road, wrapping their season against the Orioles, Royals, and Mariners. Yesterday's loss gave the Rays a 10-8 win in the season series, meaning that in the case of a tie after 162 games, the Rays win the AL East.
In other words, the division title—which, just 48 hours ago, seemed reasonably secure with a 2.5-game lead and CC on tap—is suddenly inching toward long shot status. We can have a debate at another time how important winning the division actually is, but for now I'll just lament the loss of Sabathia's personal glory.
Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.