Now the Yankees’ two most reliable pitchers are struggling, CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera.
Sabathia gave up a franchise-record-tying five homers and a season-high-tying 10 hits in the 5-1 loss to the Rays.
“It’s a humbling sport,” Sabathia said. “Today was definitely humbling.”
Last time out, he gave up a season-worst seven runs in a 10-4 loss at Fenway. And the time before that, he only gave up two runs over eight, but he also allowed 10 hits in a 3-2 win over the White Sox. The fastball command has been faulty of late. Four of the homers came off fastballs. He’s up to 190 2/3 innings, but Joe Girardi said his fastball was still humming at 96, 97. So the manager doesn’t think it’s fatigue.
“I just think players go through this,” Girardi said. “If this game was easy, there would be a lot of more big-league players and a lot more teams.”
Rivera just got to watch the game after three straight off outings this week.
“Mo’s a victim of his own success,” Mark Teixeira said. “This guy has been lights-out, automatic for 15-plus years, and so if he has a bad week, the bells start going off. That’s the world that he’s created.”
“Hopefully, we can get back on track,” said Sabathia, who has lost consecutive starts for only the third time since joining the Yankees for the 2009 season.
Meanwhile, the Yankees couldn’t get on track against David Price, who allowed just the run and six hits over eight. He mixed his pitches and hit his spots.
“They weren’t getting really good swings out there tonight,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “David had good command of his off-speed pitches.”
*Alex Rodriguez’s rehab assignment began well — first swing, home run. He went 2 for 3 with the solo shot and an RBI double for Single-A Tampa at Dunedin, working as the DH until leaving for a pinch hitter in the seventh. Saturday night at Dunedin, he will play about half the game at third. There’s a chance he will be playing at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Tuesday night and Wednesday night, according to Brian Cashman.
*Saturday’s starters are Phil Hughes and Jeremy Hellickson. Derek Jeter will be honored for his 3,000 accomplishment prior to the 4:10 game. The gates will open at 2, and fans are encouraged to be parked in their seats at 3:45.