CC Sabathia was asked to describe his season.
“One big inning,” he said. “Just, I feel like I can’t stop the bleeding. If something gets going, it’s hard for me to make a pitch. I was able to get it back tonight, but it’s just been tough.”
Sabathia did get it back tonight, but only after the four at-bats that decided the game. He’d been terrific for five innings, and then he pitched well to finish off the sixth inning, but in between were a bloop single, a four-pitch walk, game-tying double and a go-ahead single. Four hitters when Sabathia went off the rails and couldn’t get back on track quite soon enough.
“Just lost some command, tried to nibble,” he said. “It cost us the game.”
Sabathia isn’t one to nibble. Not on his best days. Not when things are going well. And Joe Girardi said tonight’s first five innings were “probably the best five innings he’s thrown all year in a group like that.” He’d allowed one hit and one walk. He’d made Wil Myers look bad on a slider, and he’d struck out four of five when that sixth inning started.
The trouble started with a weak single to the No. 9 hitter, but the real problem started with the four-pitch walk to Desmond Jennings, followed by two straight balls to Ben Zobrist. Sabathia said he’s usually able to regain his command quicker than that. It didn’t happen tonight.
“I think it was after the hit, he started trying to nibble and do a little too much,” Austin Romine said. “He had good stuff. I think he was trying to do a little bit more than he needed to.”
For five innings, Sabathia didn’t need to do any more. For four batters, he didn’t do nearly enough.
“I was doing OK, establishing (pitches) in pretty good; the fastball was good,” Sabathia said. “It doesn’t matter. We lost.”
• Girardi said he had not heard from anyone in Scranton suggesting Derek Jeter wasn’t still on track to play Monday. Jeter played his seven innings in the field, went 1-for-3 at the plate and the assumption is that he’ll be in Toronto in two days.
• That four batter sequence might have cost the Yankees the game, but make no mistake that scoring two runs a night isn’t nearly enough either. David Price is awfully good, but the Yankees missed some scoring opportunities and might have been shut out if not for a pretty impressive offensive inning from Austin Romine. “(Sabathia) didn’t pitch that poorly of a game,” Joe Girardi said. “We didn’t score runs. We only scored two runs. This is a team that scores runs. They have firepower and you have to score runs with them.”
• The Yankees first run came in an awfully good at-bat by Romine, who worked a nine-pitch, bases-loaded walk. “I didn’t even realize, really, what was going on until I got to first,” Romine said. “I was just so intent on that at-bat. I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit. I fouled back a 2-2 fastball that I really thought should have been put in play. He’s out there pitching a great game and doesn’t make too many mistakes, and I was really frustrated that I missed one of his mistakes. He didn’t throw me a strike, so I’d say I got lucky.”
• What was Romine’s reaction when he noticed Sabathia nibbling? “I try to remind him, get back in the zone,” Romine said. “Follow the glove. Hit the glove. Try to tell him some things to keep his mind off of throwing balls or nibbling too much, I’m just trying to make it simple for him. But he fixed it after that. He kept us in the ball game. He gave us an opportunity to get back in that game.”
• Larry Rothschild went to the mound after the six straight balls in that sixth inning. “You just try to get him back on track,” Girardi said. “That’s what you want to do in that situation. Sometimes you just kind of slow things down a little bit.”
• Sabathia said the pitch to Zobrist — the game-tying double — was up a little more than he wanted it, but wasn’t necessarily a horrible pitch. “Not if he hits a ground ball and we turn a double play,” Sabathia said. “I was just trying to get him to hit a ball on the ground. I left a ball over the middle of the plate and he hit the ball in the gap.”
• Sabathia had to stop mid-pitch in that inning because a ball got out of the bullpen and rolled behind the plate. He said it had no impact. “I just saw the umpire at the last second,” Sabathia said. “I usually pick up the plate at the very last second, and I was able to just keep the ball in my hand. Normally I would just throw it but I saw him quick enough where I could just stop.”
• Not much about the Yankees offense to talk about, but there was that deep fly ball by Alfonso Soriano, which Soriano clearly thought was a home run. He admired it a little bit, and what if it had been caught? “I think he’ll still be on second,” Girardi said. “He better be.”
• Mark Reynolds had his second multi-hit game with the Yankees. He was hitless in his past 12 at-bats.
• Sabathia now has 973 strikeouts with the Yankees, moving ahead of Allie Reynolds for the 12th-most in Yankees history.
• Final word to Girardi: “It’s not what you want. You’ve got to turn it around tomorrow. You can’t let this carry over. You’ve got to turn it around tomorrow and play well the rest of this road trip.”
Associated Press photos