That could’ve been uttered by a few Yankees tonight. CC Sabathia? Probably, after a start that was dominant but ultimately uneven. Alex Rodriguez? Sure, considering he committed a costly error and struck out with the bases loaded, but it would’ve required him to be available in the clubhouse to utter the quote.
Instead, Robinson Cano was Mr. Accountable. He didn’t point toward the urgency to hit with the bases loaded. And he didn’t blame bad luck, which, as we know, plays as big a role as any with hitting in the clutch.
“I don’t want to blame it on anything,” Cano said. “It’s just that I haven’t been doing my job. Like I said, I blame myself. There’s no excuse for that.”
Cano was talking about the season-long slump of his team with the bases loaded, a skid that dropped the Yankees to 10 for 62 (.161) this season. He and Rodriguez were retired by David Price with the bases loaded and their team down four runs in the fifth. It pretty much ended any chance the Yankees had tonight in their 7-3 loss to the Rays.
Joe Girardi talked prior to the game about how their struggles with runners in scoring position were blurred during a winning streak. Well, it came into sharp focus tonight, when the Yankees fanned 13 times — their most in a nine-inning game all season.
“It’s frustrating, but you’ll take your chances any time they throw 38 pitches that you’re going to put some runs across,” said Girardi, whose club forced Price to throw 38 in the fifth despite failing to plate a run. “Our guys put some at-bats on him. We got some walks in there, but we just weren’t able to get the hit.”
Girardi credited Price and his ridiculous stuff, which featured a fastball that stayed right at 97-98 all night and a slow curve in the strike zone — the one he threw eight times during an 11-pitch at-bat to Rodriguez.
“I thought Price was pretty good,” Girardi said. “I mean, that’s the bottom line. I thought he’s been pretty good all year long. I liked our at-bats when runners were on. I think we had good at-bats. We just weren’t able to put the hits across.”
Here’s some audio on the offensive struggles and more:
• The other story tonight was Sabathia, who allowed five runs (three earned) in seven innings, but was dominant at times. He fanned 12, his most since last June 30 against Milwaukee.
Sabathia said his fastball cut too much tonight, but he was most regretful of the 1-2 curve that caught too much plate against ninth-place hitter Drew Sutton. The ball was golfed off the left field wall and kicked around in the corner by Jayson Nix for a two-run double.
“That’s a good lineup, a good team, always at the top of the division,” Sabathia said. “But I need to do better and make better pitches.”
• The loss dropped Sabathia to 7-2 and inflated his ERA slightly to 3.69. He’s been decent, but hasn’t been as sharp as a man befitting his status (and paycheck) so far.
Here’s the money quote from Sabathia tongiht, followed by some audio:
“Today’s game was just the sum of my season — inconsistent. I got off to a good start, struggled, and then I felt good at the end. It’s just me needing to put together a good game and being able to go out and dominate somebody when I feel good.”
• Despite A-Rod’s struggles, Curtis Granderson had the ugliest night. He went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts and a weak ground out to the pitcher. He was asked if the game frustrated him.
“No, not at all,” said Granderson, whose average dropped to .249. “That’s baseball.”
Here’s more from him, including thoughts on why he’s not the only one who struggles against Price…
• Rodriguez’s third-inning throwing error ended the Yankees’ seven-game errorless streak. It put a runner on second with one out and Sabathia could not limit the damage.
But the fifth-inning strikeout probably had more impact on the outcome, if you ask Joe Maddon.
“That was the game, I thought,” Maddon said. “The game could have gone the other way had he walked or gotten a hit at that point. I really thought so because it would have been really frustrating for David to lose that battle and to move onto to the next guy who is also really, really good.”
• Is Russell Martin finally coming alive? He hit his sixth home run tonight and is now 10 for 28 with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in his last nine games. He’s raised his average from .173 to .210.
• Derek Jeter is now hitless in his last 13 at-bats, his longest hitless stretch since last May 14-17 (14 AB).