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Thursday, May 9, 2013
First Pitch: By the way, CC is just fine

By Andrew Marchand

When a starter is about to turn 33, when he is 6-foot-7 and around 300 pounds, when he has thrown 2,613 1/3 innings in 13 years, there is a tendency to wonder:

Is the best behind him?

CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia started this year without his best velocity, which led to a feeling that maybe this is the year CC is not CC. But when you delve inside the numbers of Sabathia's Yankees career, it is apparent Sabathia has begun 2013 similarly to each and every season he has been in pinstripes.

After seven starts, he has thrown 49 innings, which is the second most over his five years in pinstripes. In 2012, he threw 51 1/3 innings and has never been below 47 in his first seven outings.

Sabathia's ERA is 3.31, which third best among his five seasons. He has been as low as 2.68 in 2011 and as high as 3.94 during his initial season as a Yankee in 2009.

While his velocity is slightly down, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is not really. He has struck out 42 and walked 12, which is almost identical to 2011 when he was 42 and 14 after seven starts. In 2012, he struck out 53 and walked just 10. But his first two years his strikeouts were 32 in 2009 and 34 in 2010 and he walked 16 guys to begin each season.

Oh, and about the velocity, it is slower than a year ago. At this point in 2012, he was averaging 92 MPH on his fastball. This season, he is at 89.8. That is a difference, but Sabathia looks as if he could survive at that rate.

Plus, in Colorado on Thursday, the Yankees get to add Sabathia's bat. He is a career .238 hitter with three homers in 105 at-bats.

UP NOW: All the news and views from Denver on Wednesday night.

ON DECK: Sabathia (4-3, 3.31 ERA) faces Jeff Francis (1-2, 7.27). Game time is 3:10 p.m. Can Sabathia tame the Mile High altitude?

IN THE HOLE: Wallace Matthews will anchor our Thursday coverage from Denver. On Friday, the Yankees begin a three-game series in Kansas City.

QUESTION: Where you bat CC for today's game?