When CC Sabathia walked off the mound tonight, he wasn’t yelling at home plate umpire Andy Fletcher, but he was certainly having a conversation. Sabathia’s last pitch had been a bases-loaded walk that brought in the go-ahead run, and Sabathia wanted to know where it missed. It seemed even he couldn’t believe what had just happened.
“I thought it was a tough pitch,” he said. “But I went and looked at it and he made the right call. It was a ball.”
The Yankees took a two-run lead into the sixth inning, and had Sabathia on the mound. That’s usually a pretty good situation for the Yankees, but Sabathia just wasn’t good in that inning. His night fell apart in a big way, and the Yankees fell with him.
Joe Girardi pointed to the at-bats that came after the infield single that drove in the first run — “He started getting into long counts and that’s when he got into trouble,” Girardi said — but Sabathia didn’t seem happy about any part of that inning. The fact he walked the No. 9 hitter to let the Rays take the lead pretty much tells the story.
“Tonight I definitely felt bad because these guys battled and scratched some runs across, and I’m supposed to be able to go out there and put up some zeroes. I wasn’t able to do that in the sixth… I feel like I kind of deflated the team at that point.”
Here’s the bulk of Sabathia’s postgame. It was absolutely a case of not having a lot to ask the guy. He knew what happened. We knew what happened. There wasn’t much to be said.
• Even more bizarre than Sabathia walking in a run? How about Javier Vazquez hitting three batters in a row, two of them with curveballs. It was in his first inning of work, and Vazquez was trying to prepare himself. “Coming in from the pen, I started the inning from the stretch,” he said. “That’s something that coming from the pen I was trying to work on, just working from the stretch every time out. After that I went to the windup again.”
• Girardi’s take on Vazquez: “Very uncharacteristic of Javy to have control problems like that. In all the years, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Javy like that. Just strange.” After that, Vazquez actually settled in and pitched pretty well.
• Vazquez is the first Yankee ever to hit three consecutive batters, and he’s the eighth major leaguer to do it. Jeff Weaver did it most recently with the Dodgers in 2004.
• The Yankees had the bases loaded in the fifth and again in the sixth. In the end. Might have been a different game if they’d taken advantage of either situation.
• Sabathia hasn’t been especially sharp in his two starts since that eight scoreless innings battle against David Price in Tampa Bay. Has Girardi seen any lasting impact from that game? “I know he threw about 120 pitches that game in Tampa, but not necessarily, no,” Girardi said. For what it’s worth, Sabathia said he physically felt good, just had a bad night.
• Jorge Posada was high on Sabathia. “I thought he did everything possible to give us the win,” Posada said.
• The big hit of the game was B.J. Upton’s double off Joba Chamberlain, who said he was trying to get Upton to roll over a fastball and hit the ball on the ground.
• Doubled checked with Brett Gardner after the game. He’s fine. Just got a day off against a lefty.
• Speaking of that day off, big day for his replacement Greg Golson who doubled off Price in the fifth inning and finished 2-for-4. Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano also had two hits.
• Derek Jeter has a 12-game hitting streak.
• Mark Teixeira was hitless in his last 19 at-bats before his third-inning double.
Associated Press photos of Sabathia on the mound and Marcus Thames with Cano