CC Sabathia won eight straight starts leading into the all-star break. Since the break, he’s won one of four, and the other numbers suggest he hasn’t been himself.
He’s limited the damage — he’s kept his ERA below 4.00 in those starts — but he’s allowed 36 hits and 14 walks through 27 innings.
“It’s been like that since the all-star break for me,” Sabathia said. “Fastball command hasn’t really been there. I just have to keep going and make some little adjustments and try to get that back… I just know it’s not there. I know me and Dave will have some sessions where we sit and look at some video and see what’s going on.”
Girardi had Chad Gaudin getting loose fairly early, but Sabathia pitched his way out of trouble and lasted into the seventh. Truth is, he wasn’t hit especially hard — a lot of infield singles, and his defense didn’t do him many favors — but Sabathia was clearly not happy. He might not be off by much, but he’s off by his standards.
“I didn’t think he had great command of his sinker,” Girardi said. “He found a way to keep the game close and give us a chance, but we just couldn’t score runs… They just hit some balls in the right spots. CC wasn’t hit too hard, he really wasn’t.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame.
• Bottom line, the Yankees could not do anything against James Shields. More than the defense — and much, much more than Sabathia — that was the problem.
• “Changeup, that’s it,” Nick Swisher said. “That’s all he threw tonight were changeups. We’re going to have to remember that the next time… They weren’t really for strikes. We were chasing them.”
• Of course, you can’t help but wonder if Mark Teixeira would have made those plays that Lance Berkman missed at first base. He thought his play on the bloop single looked worse than it was — which might be true — but the more troublesome mistake was not scooping Robinson Cano’s wide throw in the dirt. Berkman said it hopped more than he expected.
• Berkman: “The play I was able to make on Kapler’s ball down the line, that kind of helped me settle in because that was a play that probably saved a run, maybe two. And I felt good about my at-bats today. Yesterday I felt like I was tired, but way over-amped. It was a weird combination and I didn’t have very good at-bats. Today I felt a lot better. Got my first hit out of the way. That’s big and helped me settle in.”
• Girardi said he was happy with Kerry Wood’s debut. Three strikeouts, including a big curveball to get Evan Longoria. “He’s always had good breaking stuff and velocity,” Girardi said. “For a guy who hasn’t pitched since July 11, I was pretty pleased.”
• On the strike zone: “Both sides have to deal with it,” Girardi said. “It’s the same strike zone, so you have to deal with it.”
• Girardi admitted he was going for the two-run home run when he brought Alex Rodriguez off the bench in the seventh. He had no plans of having him lead off the next inning, so he used him then and there.
• Take this Girardi comment about Rodriguez for what it’s worth: “There are things that I know that sometimes a guy needs a blow off his legs a little bit. Those are things that I have at my disposal that maybe everybody else doesn’t have.”
• A few minor league notes, two of them lost in the shuffle of yesterday’s trade deadline: Juan Miranda and Colin Curtis have returned to the Triple-A lineup … Reegie Corona is on the disabled list after an ugly collision … Chad Tracy has taken an out in his contract.
UPDATE, 8:28 p.m.: According to Mike Ashmore, Brandon Laird has been promoted to Triple-A and Corban Joseph has been called up to Double-A. Those are two of the more interesting, though maybe not highly touted, prospects in the system.
Associated Press photos of Sabathia and Austin Kearns