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Hartnett: Sabathia Will Keep Yankees Alive, Force Game 5

'Hart of the Order'
By Sean Hartnett
» More Columns

Starting pitching has been the smallest of the Yankees' concerns, but CC Sabathia is capable making an impact that goes beyond the pitcher's mound.

Sabathia inspires belief. And that's exactly what the Yankees are in desperate need of going into Game 4 of the ALCS down 3-0.

The Yankees are standing on the edge of a four-game sweep.  The foul stench of defeat and failure is hanging around the clubhouse.  Something needs to give and Sabathia can change that culture.

Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes have all done their part by putting in gutsy performances on the hill.  Even though Hughes only lasted three innings before a back issue forced him off the mound, he gave the Yankees everything he had and the bullpen arms kept New York within striking distance.

The Yankees' predicament isn't on those guys, but you win and lose as a team, even if the offense is rightfully shouldering most of the blame.

With Derek Jeter unavailable, the Yankees are suffering from a leadership void.  CC can fill it.  He has that 'I can carry you on my back' mentality.

Sabathia has given the Yankees eight innings of more in each of his five previous starts.  His last two starts came in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles and he recorded a 'W' on both occasions.

CC sparkled during the ALDS.  He gave the Yankees 17.2 innings of dominance as he struck out nearly a batter per inning and only walked three total batters.  And surrendered just 12 hits against the Orioles.  Sabathia finished the ALDS with an ERA of 1.53 and an outstanding WHIP of 0.849.

We saw the way Sabathia inspired the Yankees in the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS.  He's been in this situation before throughout his career and delivered the goods.

"CC, we obviously always look forward to seeing him," Yankees' manager Joe Girardi told on Tuesday. "We know the competitor he is and how he will grind out a game. He's never going to get too caught up with what happened the pitch before or the play before. He has outstanding stuff, and he knows how to win. We are pretty excited about it."

Put your trust in CC Sabathia -- he will lead the Yankees through the fire and force Game 5.

Will Sabathia carry the Yankees on his broad shoulders and stave off elimination?   Sound off below and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.

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