CC Sabathia matched season-highs tonight by allowing 10 hits and four walks. He also matched a season-low by pitching only 5.2 innings.
Since the Yankees went to a six-man rotation at the end of July, Sabathia has made nine starts, seven of them on extra rest. He’s allowed 10 hits in five of those extra-rest starts, something he’d done only once in 23 starts before the six-man rotation became a somewhat permanent situation.
“I don’t think (extra rest has been the problem),” Sabathia said. “I’ve felt great. My arm feels good. My body feels good. It’s just been not executing pitches when I need to. The Lind at-bat, not being able to make the pitch and get out of the inning… Command is the big issue, but my stuff has been there. That’s what’s so frustrating.”
The Lind at-bat was in the fifth, when the Yankees had given Sabathia a 3-1 lead. Sabathia allowed a pair of two-out walks, then he faced Adam Lind with the bases loaded. Lind doubled in all three runs, and when Sabathia loaded the bases again in the sixth, Luis Ayala had to bail him out.
“I still felt good about him getting Lind out,” Girardi said. “Lind hurt us tonight with a couple doubles and a single. I still felt good about it. I thought his stuff was okay, and I thought he’d get him out. He didn’t… I still really believe in (Sabathia). I think he’s going to be great for us and he’ll continue to be great for us. Tonight, he struggled a little bit, but he gave us a chance to win that game. We weren’t able to score after we tied it up 4-4. I still think CC’s going to run off some good starts, I really do.”
Could extra rest be an issue? Sabathia notoriously thrives with less rest rather than more.
“It could,” Girardi said. “He’s going to be on regular rest his next turn, so we’ll get a good chance to see that. That’s just been the way it’s been for us, but we’ll get him on regular rest.”
Actually, to line up Sabathia for Game 1 of the division series, the Yankees might have to pitch him on short rest Sunday against Boston.
“The past couple of starts it’s just been tough, throwing a lot of pitches in a short amount of time. Just frustrating,”
• After batting practice, Alex Rodriguez explained that he spent the day learning to hit with a ring of tape separating his uninjured top hand and his sore left thumb. He believes he’s allowed to use the taped bat during the game. “We’ve never tried it, but Kevin had me split my hands, and after that it felt really good because I didn’t put any pressure on the thumb,” Rodriguez said. “If it goes well — you know how us baseball players are, we just won’t change — it will definitely alleviate any pain on my thumb, because the only pressure I have is when I press down on the point of contact.”
• Rodriguez took a ton of swings today. He did tee and toss with Kevin Long before batting practice, then he took eight rounds of regular BP, hitting with two different groups.
• Girardi said after the game that he still plans to play Rodriguez tomorrow. Everything he saw in BP makes him think Rodriguez will be ready. “I’d like to pencil his name in there,” Girardi said. “I’d actually like to use a pen.”
• Sabathia’s short-and-sweet explanation of what went wrong on the pitch to Lind: “Just got a ball out over the plate. He put a good swing on it. He had been putting good swings all night and got a pitch he could handle.”
• The Yankees have lost six of their past nine games, five of their past six loses have come in one-run games.
• Three days ago, Cory Wade had not lost a game since joining the Yankees. He’s now allowed two straight walkoffs, giving up a walkoff homer on Wednesday and Jose Molina’s walkoff single tonight.
• Boone Logan took the loss after allowing a sharp leadoff double in that decisive ninth.
• Until the ninth, the bullpen had been a bright spot for the Yankees. Ayala got Sabathia out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, Rafael Soriano struck out the side in the seventh and Dave Robertson left the bases loaded in the eighth.
• Eric Chavez hit his second home run of the season… Nick Swisher twice tied the game with two-out hits… Derek Jeter’s 13-game hitting streak ended.
• Brett Gardner stole two bases tonight. He’s been successful in 40 of his past 47 attempts.
Associated Press photos