Remember the beginning of June, when CC Sabathia had just gone five straight starts without a win? Remember when he finally got a win on June 3, but gave up two home runs in the process?
Back then, Sabathia had allowed nine home runs in a span of six starts. He had allowed 12 for the year — just eight short of his highest ever season total — and he still had two-thirds of the season to go.
Sabathia hasn’t allowed a homer since. I knew it had been a long time, but I’m not sure I knew exactly how long until Kim Jones rattled off the numbers during Joe Girardi’s pregame press conference. Sabathia has gone eight straight starts without a home run. Luke Scott took him deep with one out in the seventh inning on June 3, and Sabathia has since gone 60.1 innings without a long ball.
“I don’t want to oversimplify it,” Girardi said. “But it’s location. At times his ball was cutting a little bit, and he’s gotten away from that.”
I don’t want to oversimplify it either, but Sabathia’s an awfully good pitcher. That probably has something to do with it too.
• Seems kind of surprising given how much the bullpen has been used lately, but Girardi said he expected to have every reliever available tonight. “I really don’t think we are limited,” he said. “The off day came at a good time… I would imagine that I should be able to use everybody.”
• I get that these are the Royals, and surely the Yankees are looking to win three out of four this series, but it’s worth noting that Kansas City does have the highest team batting average in the majors. “I think they’re dangerous offensively,” Girardi said. “Some guys in the middle of the lineup are really swinging the bats.”
• I might regret opening this can of worms, but one of the favorite topics of discussion around here perpetually seems to be Royals outfielder David DeJesus: “I’ve always liked him,” Girardi said. “It seems like he always plays pretty well here. He’s from this area. I’ve always thought he swung the bat pretty well and he was a good defender in the outfield. He’s having a great year. He was one of the guys that we talked about as an all-star.”
• Against the lefty Bruce Chen, Girardi could have worked the lineup to keep Curtis Granderson on the bench, but the Yankees are sticking with their center fielder. “I know the numbers say he’s hitting .220, but I think he’s hit the ball harder than .220 against left-handed hitters,” Girardi said.
• During his one year in the Yankees system, Royals reliever Kanekoa Texeira never pitched in Scranton, so I’d never met him until this afternoon. Good guy, with nothing but good things to say about his time with New York: “When I was with the Yankees, they pretty much got me ready to be a long reliever like I am now. If I didn’t get to New York, I don’t think I would have gotten here. The Yankees changed me from being a closer to being a long reliever. That kind of helped me out. They prepared me for what I’ve been doing so far. I have nothing but love for New York.”
• Random story from BP: Derek Jeter and Ramiro Pena were taking turns fielding balls in the hole at shortstop. It seemed to be a Jeter’s urging that Tony Pena hit a ball well out of Ramiro’s reach and into medium depth left field. Pena chased it down, did the jump throw from the middle of the outfield, and threw a perfect strike to first base. That guy can play some defense.
Scott Podsednik LF
Jason Kendall C
David DeJesus CF
Billy Butler 1B
Jose Guillen DH
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Mike Aviles 2B
Willie Bloomquist RF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Associated Press photos of Sabathia and Dave Robertson