I expected CC Sabathia to be frustrated last night. I expected it because of the home run, and because of the way he came off the field, and because he let a lead slip away. But I’m not sure I expected him to be so angry in his frustration. He’s not the kind of guy to punch walls and throw chairs, but last night he seemed close. As close as he gets anyway.
“You’ve got to finish the game, put a complete game together,” he said. “I’m not saying go out and throw nine innings, but just put a good start, a complete start together. I feel like I haven’t done that all year.”
Sabathia’s season has felt incomplete, hasn’t it. Last night he could not have been much better halfway through the game. His fastball was sitting around 93 mph and regularly reaching 94. He was working on a no-hitter. It was vintage Sabathia for five innings. Then a little flare fell for a hit. Then an infield single that should have been an out. Then a legitimate double, and another infield single, and a home run. Suddenly, there he was, with another four earned runs and another start that could have been better.
“It wasn’t really him snowballing,” Chris Stewart said. “It was just kind of bad luck, just one bad pitch that they were able to take advantage of. Other than that, he threw pretty good. It’s just unfortunate what happened. … It’s an ERA-inflator, but there’s nothing much you can do. He’s had a couple of those games this year. He’s un-CC-like maybe numbers-wise, but as far as intensity and the way he goes about it, he’s the same guy. It’s just tough that his numbers aren’t with him this year.”
Thing is, the Yankees need the numbers. This is not a year when the Yankees can fight through games like yesterday, pick up Sabathia for his two costly mistakes, and turn a disappointment into a win. Pitching is what the Yankees have. It’s the only part of the roster that’s remained relatively healthy and able to go more-or-less according to plan. And the ace is a big part of that plan.
Sabathia’s velocity is starting to climb. He’s pitched at least seven innings in six of his past seven starts. He’s had one three-walk game since April 7. Does Sabathia feel that he’s far off from where he should be?
“No, but that’s what makes it more frustrating,” he said. “I feel like the stuff is there. I just need to put a game together.”
Associated Press photo