C.C. Sabathia lost his first game since May 23, but the only real mistake that the big lefty made was allowing the Indians to put the ball in play.
For most of the game, Sabathia was dealing one of his best fastballs of the season, consistently throwing in the mid-90s and topping out at 98mph, along with a devastating change. On most nights, that would have been enough to dominate the opposition lineup, but a comedy of errors in the fourth inning effectively scuttled Sabathia’s entire outing. After allowing a leadoff single to Asdrubal Cabrera and an “excuse me” opposite field double to Shin-Soo Choo, Sabathia induced a groundball to third off the bat of Austin Kearns. Arod fielded the ball quickly and fired home to Cervelli, but the excitable catcher lost control of the ball while attempting an easy tag. After a pop out by Shelley Duncan, Sabathia seemingly extracted himself from the mess by getting Johnny Peralta to hit into an inning ending double play. The only problems were Robinson Cano failed to touch second base and the umpire at first awarded a close call to the runner. So, instead of two outs, the Yankees got none. A sacrifice fly by Matt LaPorta plated the Indians second unearned run in the inning before Sabathia finally took matters into his own hands by striking out Jason Donald to end the frame.
Normally, allowing two runs wouldn’t be such a make or break event, but the Yankees lineup was once again dormant against a pitcher making his major league debut. Rookie Josh Tomlin kept the Yankees hitless until the fifth inning, and only allowed one run on three hits in his seven-plus innings. The truth is the stats don’t even tell the whole story. Tomlin kept the entire Yankees lineup off balance for his entire outing, which made him look like an accomplished veteran facing an offense of impatient rookies.
After needing 25 hard pitches to get through the fourth inning, Sabathia seemed to lose a bit of his command. Still, he battled for three more innings, but in the process encountered more shaky defense. In the bottom of the sixth, Kearns led off with a long drive to center that Curtis Granderson seemed to track well. Once again, however, a Yankee defender simply dropped the ball. Although it would have been a fine play, Granderson’s inability to make the grab resulted in a man on third with no outs and created a do or die situation that eventually consumed Sabathia. By the time the lefty extracted himself from this latest jam, the Indians had two more runs and the Yankees had what seemed like an insurmountable deficit to overcome.
The Yankees finally broke through against Tomlin in the eighth when Cano led off with a double that chased the rookie from the game. Cano eventually scored on a groundball by pinch hitter Colin Curtis, but no further damage was done. As they often do, the Yankees did manage to bring the heart of their order to the plate as the tying run in the ninth, but Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira and Arod all appropriately made weak outs to end what was a lackluster effort.
Later wins by the Rays and Red Sox added insult to the injury of last night’s loss, but the bigger concerns continue to be developing cracks in the Yankees’ defense along with an offense that melts at the sight of a rookie and falls off considerably on the road. As Brian Cashman wavers on possible trade scenarios, a night like yesterday might push him back toward looking for a bat.
C.C. Sabathia’s Pitch Breakdown
|Avg. Speed||Max Speed||Count||Strikes||Percentage|
|Four Seam Fastball||95.9||98.1||61||43||70.5%|
- By failing to reach base, Mark Teixeira’s streak of reaching base in 42 consecutive games came to an end.
- Before the game, Jorge Posada was scratched from the lineup with a sore left knee. According to the Yankees, he is day-to-day.