The Yankees' ace did more than enough Thursday afternoon to pick up his MLB-leading 19th win of the season. After the game, he'd have been wised to clear some space on his mantel — his '07 Cy Young Award could have some company soon.
There's still a month left in the season, of course, so guaranteeing a Cy for CC would be premature. Still, with five or so starts left, he's already matched his career high in wins. His 3.02 ERA, if maintained, would be second only to his '07 ERA of 2.70. Given that he's seeing the Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays on a routine basis, this year's mark is infinitely more impressive.
According to ESPN.com's Cy Young Predictor, the award is Sabathia's to lose. The formula, as described on the site, is (as you'd imagine) simple as simple can be: Cy Young Points (CYP) = ((5*IP/9)-ER) + (SO/12) + (SV*2.5) + Shutouts + ((W*6)-(L*2)) + VB (Victory Bonus is a 12-point bonus awarded for leading your team to the division championship, pro-rated based on the current standings).
What all those numbers and functions attempt to do is explain what has been very obvious for years: CC Sabathia is as reliable as reliable comes. In fact, since the Yankees lost four of his starts to end May, they've lost just two of his starts since then. In those two losses, the Yanks scored just one run total.
He was asked Thursday after his domination of Oakland on the prospect of winning 20 games for the first time in his career.
"It'd be cool," he said, according to The Associated Press. "We're still trying to wrap up the division. It's hard to think about personal accomplishments."
Perhaps it is being in the thick of a pennant race that brings out the best in Sabathia. In '07, he helped lead the Indians to a 96-win season, tied with the Red Sox for most in the majors. In the summer of '08, he became almost mythical for his performance down the stretch for the Brewers, going 11-2 with a ridiculous 1.65 ERA, an even more ridiculous seven complete games and three shutouts in 17 starts.
After signing a justifiably absurd contract with the Yankees, he's lived up to it in every way. He was part of the World Series championship in the Bronx last season, and he may just help bring another one this October. That's still up in the air, but barring a meltdown of unbelievable proportions, the 2010 Cy Young Award is as close to a lock as possible on Sept. 2.