There’s a reason why the Yankees are one of the most successful franchises in all of North American major league sports. To be successful enough to win exactly a quarter of all of the available championship titles (27 of 108 World Series titles through 2012), you have to employ superior talent. With the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, the Bronx Bombers have been an offensive juggernaut, but while slugging is what the Yankees were built on, beginning with the Murderer’s Row teams of the 1920’s, it’s always been pitching that has put them over the top.
From Lefty Gomez and Whitey Ford through Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, the Yankees have almost always run out a rotation able to win close games as well as slugfests.That’s what makes the fact that CC Sabathia is within striking range of leading the major leagues in earned runs allowed so strange.
The ace of the 2013 staff on paper (and in the accounting ledger) coming into the season, Sabathia (13-13, 4.90 ERA in 204 innings) has allowed 111 earned runs this season, six more than second-place Edinson Volquez who was released by the Padres before landing up I-5 with the NL West champion Dodgers.
Looking back to 1903 when the Yankees/Highlanders first took up shop in New York City, there has been just one Yankees pitcher to have the dubious distinction of allowing more earned runs than any other big leaguer. In 1976 Hall of Fame right-hander, Catfish Hunter, allowed 117 runs, five more than anyone else. Other Yankees have led the American League in earned runs allowed. Others have been tied for the big league lead, but only Hunter, and if he does it in the remaining games of the season, Sabathia, would stand at the top (or bottom, depending on your perspective).