There were many times that it seemed as if CC Sabathia would never receive another chance at one more playoff game, let alone an American League Championship Series Game 7.

Twice his right knee gave out and it looked as if his career could be over. Most recently, this August, his knee buckled once again, making it seem possible it might be all over.

On top of that, two years ago, Sabathia, who lives for big games as a player and as a sports fan, missed the Yankees' wild-card game because it was time for him to deal with alcohol dependency. Besides the injuries and the personal issues, there were a lot of bad starts over the past five years.

But now, here he is, after reviving his career and with the Baby Bombers perhaps starting the Yankees' next dynasty, it is the old man who will be asked to pitch them to the World Series. To a man, the Yankees would want no one else but Sabathia on the mound to stare down the Astros and the Minute Maid Park fans on Saturday night.

"That's our guy," rookie Aaron Judge said. "Any time we need someone in a big situation, CC's been our guy."

The Astros' lineup might have awoken in Game 6, but Sabathia won't be intimidated. He has started two elimination games in his career, and his team won both of them.

In 2012, he fired a complete game, giving up only a run, to beat the Orioles in an ALDS Game 5. And he was the one on the mound last Wednesday to set the tone in Cleveland in Game 5 of the ALDS, lasting longer than Indians ace, Corey Kluber, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up two runs and striking out nine.