Last night’s 5-4 loss in 10 to the Twins turned into a story about the bullpen melting down, overshadowing how good CC Sabathia was. You can’t waste starting pitching like that, especially when you have a 4-0 lead going to the eighth.
The third-place finisher in last year’s AL Cy Young voting looked in Cy Young form.
The lefty could be 2-0 already instead of having two no-decisions. He gave up three runs in six innings against the Tigers on Opening Day, and then improved in his second start, showing great command of his fastball in the cold while working on a two-hit shutout through seven. Sabathia put down the final 17 Twins that he faced.
“I feel a lot better this year,” Sabathia said. “I’ve been able to command my pitches and use both sides of the plate. … I’m still struggling with my changeup a little bit, but we’ll work on that in the bullpen.”
Sabathia took everything in stride, from Joe Girardi pulling him after 104 pitches (“I know Joe and how he is early in the season. He’s just trying to protect us.”) to Rafael Soriano and David Robertson blowing his four-run lead (“The bullpen is really the strength of our team. Nine times out of 10 they’re going to come in and shut the door.”).
Now Sabathia will look for his first win Sunday night in Boston against the team perceived to be the AL East favorite — the conclusion of the early three-game showdown. The Red Sox are off to a slow start, losing all four of their games.
“I’m looking for it to be fun,” Sabathia said. “It’s always fun. It’s exciting to hook up with those guys. It’s just another big series. You always want to win the games in your division. That’s the first step in winning the division. It starts on Friday night.”
There are still two games to go against Minnesota. Tonight, if the forecasted showers don’t get in the way, Freddy Garcia will make his Yankees regular-season debut, his first chance to show that they made the right choice in naming him the fifth starter over Bartolo Colon.