Results tagged ‘ CC Sabathia ’
CC Sabathia’s hamstring injury that has terminated the season prevented another matchup against the Rays’ David Price. The two former Cy Young Award winners have been paired against each other on a regular basis.
Sabathia’s last start was Friday night at Yankee Stadium against the Giants in which he pitched seven innings plus one batter and got the victory thanks to Alex Rodriguez’s record 24th career grand slam that unlocked a 1-1 score in the bottom of the seventh. CC somehow pitched into the eighth inning despite straining his left hammy in the second inning.
Had he not been hurt and stayed on turn in the rotation, Sabathia would have been scheduled to start for the Yankees Wednesday night against Tampa Bay and his fellow lefthander. Perhaps CC would just as soon avoid Price, whose most recent victory was Aug. 24 against Sabathia and the Yankees at Tropicana Field.
It was the ninth time Price and Sabathia squared off against each other. The Rays have won eight of those games with Price putting up a 6-1 record and 2.68 ERA in 59 2/3 innings. Nine of his 20 career starts against the Yankees have come against Sabathia.
The Yankees’ slim hopes of making the playoffs have been dealt a further blow with the loss of CC Sabathia for the remainder of the season. He sustained a Grade 2 left hamstring strain, which requires a recovery time of eight weeks, during Friday night’s 5-1 victory over the Giants. The amazing part is that Sabathia felt the strain as early as the second inning and still he pitched into the eighth and after the game told manager Joe Girardi he expected to make his next start. That was the adrenalin talking, of course. Once the strain was discovered, Sabathia was shut down for the rest of the way.
“It’s frustrating,” Sabathia said. “It came at a time when I felt I was going in the right direction.”
The 2013 season was something of a roller coaster for Sabathia, who finished with a 14-13 record and a 4.78 ERA, the highest of his career. The lefthander did not mince words when summing up his season.
“I had a bad year,” he said.
Well, that’s a bit harsh. What Sabathia had was an inconsistent season, one in which he could not take success from start to start as he had in the past during a career that included his winning the American League Cy Young Award in 2006 with the Indians and in five years with the Yankees that included an World Series championship in 2009.
“I didn’t grind it out the way I have in the past,” he said. “I gave up too many leads. Our guys would come back against a good pitcher, and I’d give back the lead the next inning. If I could have given Hiro [Hiroki Kuroda] more help, we’d be in a better position than we are now.”
In that last sentence, Sabathia acknowledged that he lost the staff ace designation to Kuroda at some point during the season, a position he hopes to regain in 2014.
“I had different issues; it wasn’t just one thing,” he said. “Earlier in the year, it was arm angle, not getting my elbow up. Another part of it was being stubborn, not wanting to change. I was never one to look at videos. I had to change my approach and started doing that to study hitters’ tendencies. I fell into a pattern where I was pitching people the same way. My preparation for the game needs to be better. I felt like I let my teammates down this year. I intend to work hard over the winter and next spring to go back to being the pitcher I was when I signed here.”
The Yankees keep coming off the mat. After a 4-6 trip that included two losses in three games to the last-place Blue Jays, the Yankees opened the final homestand of the season in a big way with a 5-1 victory over the Giants, who are trying to stay out of last place the year after winning the World Series.
The matchup of a pair of former Cy Young Award winners, CC Sabathia and Tim Lincecum, had the potential to be a riveting a game, which it was for six innings. The Yankees broke it open in the bottom of the seventh on a record-breaking grand slam by Alex Rodriguez. Lincecum was out of the game by then, but he had put the three runners A-Rod drove home on base. Hitting Brendan Ryan with a pitch was a huge blunder by Lincecum. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s failure to complete a double play on a grounder to third by J.R. Murphy kept the inning alive, and Lincecum dug himself in deeper by walking Ichiro Suzuki.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy replaced Lincecum at that point by George Kontos, who may be a familiar name to Yankees fans. The righthander was the Yankees’ fifth-round draft choice out of Northwestern University in 2006 and pitched in seven games for them in 2011. He went to the Giants in April 2012 in the trade for catcher Chris Stewart.
Rodriguez, who had one hit in his previous 25 at-bats, was certainly overdue. He batted. 182 on the trip but did have two home runs. A-Rod drove a 2-1 fastball to right field that made a 1-1 game 5-1 Yankees lead that held up in the steady hands of David Robertson in the eighth and Mariano Rivera in a non-save situation in the ninth.
The 654th career home run for Rodriguez was his 24th with the bases loaded. That broke the tie he had for most grand slams with Lou Gehrig. This was one of those records I thought when I was a kid would never be broken.
Of course, I thought the same thing about Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 games, Babe Ruth’s home run records for one season (60) and career (714), Ty Cobb’s stolen-base marks for one season (96) and career (897), Cobb’s career standard for hits (4,189) and George Sisler’s mark for hits in a season (257).
They are all gone.
This was a record set not in some obscure game in the middle of the season but during a game in the last week for a team that is trying to win a playoff spot under increasingly difficult odds.
Sabathia bounced back after two straight losses with one of his best games of the season. This was a tight game for nearly all the time he was in it. He gave up seven hits and three walks but was helped by a couple of double plays. The Yanks turned a third double play in the eighth behind Robertson after he entered the game following a leadoff single off Sabathia.
The Yankees still need some help from other teams to make their way through this wild-card maize, but for one night at least they helped themselves.
The Yankees were in trouble Saturday before they even took the field at Fenway Park. Once again – and how often has this happened this year? – a player was scratched from the lineup due to injury. Not just any player, either. Down this time was none other than Alfonso Soriano, the offensive force who has been at the center of the team’s renaissance the past six weeks.
Soriano was unavailable because of a sprained right thumb, which he sustained while making a diving catch Thursday night at Baltimore. He played Friday night but aggravated the condition and could not grip a bat Saturday. X-rays were negative, which was a good sign. A not so good sign, however, was that the thumb was worse Saturday than it was Friday night.
Without Soriano, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to add another left-handed hitter, Ichiro Suzuki, as an outfielder in the batting order against lefthander Jon Lester (14-8), who pitched eight solid innings for the Red Sox. Ironically, two of the Yankees’ three hits were by a left-handed hitter, Curtis Granderson, who tripled and doubled.
Granderson batted out of the leadoff spot the past two games in place of regular center fielder Brett Gardner, who could be lost for the remainder of the regular season because of a left oblique strain. Shortstop Derek Jeter is also gone for the rest of the regular season due to lingering issues with his surgical left ankle.
Yes, the Yankees are pretty beat up, which they have been much of the season. It has been a medical nightmare for them. I teased trainer Steve Donohue the other day that the club must have run out of tape before the All-Star break. Referring to former head trainer Gene Monahan, Stevie said, “Geno sure picked the right time to retire.”
CC Sabathia got beat up Saturday as well. Boston did not enjoy a slugfest but did tag Sabathia (13-13) for five earned runs, nine hits and four walks in six innings. Five different players drove in runs for the Red Sox. CC had another troubling season against the Red Sox. He was 2-2 but had a 7.22 ERA in 28 2/3 innings, including 1-1 with a 9.92 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at Fenway Park.
Conversely, Lester was 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 27 1/3 innings against the Yankees this year. Of the 24 outs Lester recorded Saturday, 16 were in the infield and five were on strikeouts. The Yankees’ only run scored on an infield out as they were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The 2-through-6 hitters were a combined 0-for-18.
Someone will have to explain to me what CC Sabathia and Chris Tillman had to do with the beef between their managers, the Yankees’ Joe Girardi and the Orioles’ Buck Showalter, at the end of the first inning Monday night in the opener of a crucial four-game series between the American League wild-card playoff berth foes at Camden Yards.
The shouting match between the skippers apparently was over Girardi’s admonishing Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson for reasons the Yankees manager did not specify after the game only to say that he has always been dedicated to defending his players. One can only assume the player he was defending was catcher Austin Romine after hearing Showalter’s post-game remarks that the issue may have been sign stealing or signaling pitch location.
Well, it all made for interesting theater and little else. So what was the point of plate umpire Ed Hickox issuing warnings to the pitchers? What did Sabathia and Tillman have to do with all this? Here is a pivotal game between a couple of postseason candidates and the pitchers are neutralized for no good reason.
Camden Yards is a home-run haven that requires pitchers to use every inch of the plate and they are told from practically the start of the game that they work the inner half at their peril. What a joke.
Despite this limitation, both starters worked deeply into the game. Sabathia was provided a 1-0 lead before he took the mound on a home run by Alex Rodriguez. But for the 12th time this season, CC gave up a lead as the Orioles tied the score with a run in the bottom half of the first on a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones.
The pitchers exchanged zeroes until the fifth when another sacrifice fly, by J.J. Hardy, put the Orioles ahead. Baltimore picked up an additional run thanks to the legs of Alexi Casilla. He singled with two out and stole second from where he scored on a single by Nick Markakis, one of his three hits in the game.
Sabathia hurt himself in the eighth with a throwing error that helped the Orioles to another run on a two-out double by Manny Machado. Lyle Overbay’s 14th home run leading off the eighth inning ended Tillman’s stretch of 14 consecutive outs and his outing as well. Tommy Hunter struck out the next three innings.
The Yankees got the tying run to the plate after Rodriguez led off the ninth with a single, but Jim Johnson withstood a warning-track drive by Curtis Granderson to get his 43rd save.
It was not the way the Yankees wanted to start the series. They fell three games behind the Rays for the second wild card and 1 ½ games behind the Orioles and Indians with only a one-game edge over the Royals.
The Yankees paid the White Sox back for that miserable three-game sweep a month ago at Chicago by returning the favor at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks’ futility at U.S. Cellular Field marked the low point of the season. They left there only one game over .500 (57-56) but have played .692 ball since (18-8) and are 11 games over at 75-64 as they continue to push for a high point of the season, a postseason berth.
What better way to go into a four-game showdown with the Red Sox at the Stadium beginning Thursday night than to dust off an inferior opponent even if things got a bit dicey in the later innings? The Yanks watched a 6-1 lead behind a good outing by CC Sabathia (13-11) shrink to 6-5 by the eighth inning before Mariano Rivera settled matters with his first four-out save in two years.
Mo’s 41st save this season and career No. 649 complimented a sturdy offensive attack by the Yankees, who had another crooked-number inning that have become more regular these days. It was a four-run fourth against rookie righthander Eric Johnson in his big-league debut that put the Yankees in control. Johnson contributed to the rally with a throwing error. The big blow was a two-run triple by Brett Gardner after Lyle Overbay’s RBI single had put the Yanks ahead. Robinson Cano, who homered (No. 26) in the first inning, drove in the fourth run of the fourth with an infield single in a three-hit, two-RBI game.
Alfonso Soriano’s 40th RBI in 37 games with the Yankees on a sacrifice fly in the seventh seemed a tack-on run at the time but proved the game decider when the White Sox put together a four-run inning of their own the next inning.
Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in five starts. He left with one out and a couple of runners on base, both of whom scored as David Robertson had a rollercoaster inning that required Rivera’s parachute as the White Sox closed to one run. Mo stranded two runners by striking out Alejandro De Aza looking and then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
No wonder manager Joe Girardi wants him back next year.
The Yankees would love for Ivan Nova to duplicate his August success in September. He will get his first start of this month Thursday night opposite Boston’s Jake Peavy in the opener of a four-game series against the Red Sox.
Last month was indeed august for Nova. The righthander had a 4-0 record with a 2.08 ERA and was a very deserving winner of the American League Pitcher of the Month Award, the first for a Yankees hurler since CC Sabathia in July 2011. Nova has been a key ingredient in the Yankees’ turnaround in recent weeks.
Among league leaders for August, Nova was first in ERA, tied for first in victories and starts (six) and tied for third in innings pitched (43 1/3) in which he walked 12 batters and struck out 31. Opponents batted .250 against him with only one home run – the fewest allowed per nine innings in the AL during the month.
Nova began his honored month with seven shutout innings at San Diego in a game the Yankees won, 3-0. He held the Padres to four hits with eight strikeouts. In his next start Aug. 9 against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium, Nova limited Detroit to one run on eight hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings but got a no-decision in a 4-3, 10-inning victory.
In defeating the Angels, 11-3, at the Stadium Aug. 14, Nova became the first Yankees pitcher to throw at least seven innings and allow three or fewer earned runs over seven consecutive starts – a run that began July 5 – since Sabathia in 2011 and the first Yankees righthander to do it since David Cone in 1998.
Nova capped it off with his first career complete-game shutout, a 2-0 three-hitter against the Orioles on the last day of the month. He walked one batter, hit two and struck out five.
Let it be known that the Yankees are aware they reside on planet Earth. They played Friday night’s game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium with the fierce determination of a team aware of the obstacles facing them in their quest for a postseason berth.
“They would have to be on another planet not to know the importance of this stretch of games,” manager Joe Girardi said before the opener of a 10-game homestand.
Girardi did not hesitate to remind them anyway with the way he managed, which was akin to it being Game 7 of the World Series. The 8-5 victory before a boisterous Friday night crowd of 45,169 was an ideal way to get this pivotal period of the season started for the Yankees.
The skipper pulled CC Sabathia, who gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, after 86 pitches, then played mix and match with his bullpen in an effort to protect a lead that his starting pitcher failed to do once and threatened to do twice, which has been an unfortunate custom of his this season.
This was a weird one. Sabathia and Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez traded zeroes for three innings before balls started getting whacked all over the yard and over the fences. Home run leader Chris Davis singled in the first run of the game in the top of the fourth, but a two-run, opposite-field home run by Alfonso Soriano in the bottom half put the Yankees ahead.
Danny Valencia answered that with a two-run homer in the fifth to regain the lead for Baltimore. The Yankees went gangbusters in their turn at-bat that inning and retrieved the lead by putting up a five-spot and chasing Gonzalez. The Yanks began the inning with four consecutive extra-base hits – doubles by Curtis Granderson and Mark Reynolds for one run, Ichiro Suzuki’s first home run in 132 at-bats for two more runs and a double by Austin Romine. A single by Brett Gardner and a walk to Derek Jeter loaded the bases and hastened Gonzalez’s departure. Robinson Cano greeted left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland with a single to left to drive in two runs.
Sabathia gave a run back in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled and scored on a two-out single by Nick Markakis. That was it for Girardi, who made the move to Shawn Kelley. Valencia singled Markakis to third, but Kelley got out of the inning without further damage. With one out in the seventh, Girardi brought in lefthander Boone Logan to face lefty-hitting Nate McLouth, who flied out, and then righthander David Robertson against righty-swinging Manny Machado, who grounded out.
The Yankees added to their lead with a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez. They lost a shot at another run on poor base running by Alfonso Soriano. He and A-Rod pulled off a double steal of second and third with one out. Against an over-shift on Granderson that had the third baseman playing in the shortstop hole, Soriano could have walked home from third on Grandy’s push bunt toward third. Sori held up for some reason and motioned back to third, but Rodriguez was nearing that base. Pitcher Francisco Rodriguez had fielded the ball by that time and threw to catcher Taylor Teegarden for an easy tag-out of Soriano.
Girardi was hit with several questions after the game about why Granderson bunted in that spot as if it were a dumb play. I thought it was a terrific move on his part. The defense was giving him practically the entire left side of the infield. Why not drop one down and get a free run?
Robertson handled the eighth inning without fault and turned the ball over to Mariano Rivera in the ninth. Enough said.
Girardi had indicated the importance of this series with the announcement before the game that Phil Hughes would be pushed back to Monday night against the White Sox so that Andy Pettitte could start Sunday against the Orioles. The reason for that should be self-explanatory. Girardi had a hunch about Reynolds in starting him at first base against a right-handed pitcher instead of Lyle Overbay. Reynolds had three hits one an RBI. He was thrown out on the bases twice, but no one said he was Rickey Henderson.
CC Sabathia has had a nasty habit this season of giving up leads. That virus struck him again Saturday night at Tropicana Field at a time the Yankees could least afford it. This was a game that fit the must-win category with Boston and Oakland both winning and the Yanks trying to stretch their winning series streak to five. Instead, they will take the field Sunday in an attempt salvage one game in the three-game set against the first-place Rays.
Paired against fellow former American League Cy Young Award winner David Price for the ninth time, Sabathia actually had the upper hand for five innings. He held the Rays to one hit, a two-out double by longtime nemesis Evan Longoria in the first inning, and a walk to that point. CC also made an outstanding defensive play to get the last out of the third inning by fielding a chopper with his back to the plate and firing a laser beam to first base.
The Yankees gave Sabathia a 2-0 lead in the fifth by using three singles and a walk to put a dent in Price. After that, however, the Yanks had only one more base runner – Curtis Granderson with a one-out double in the seventh – so their offense was standing still as the Rays made their move.
Then came the sixth inning and everything fell apart for the big guy. Sam Fuld, the 9-hole hitter barely batting over .200, led off with a single through the middle. Sabathia temporarily lost the plate by walking Desmond Jennings on four pitches and falling behind 2-0 in the count to Ben Zobrist, who later in the at-bat drilled a 3-1 fastball to left-center for a two-run double. CC then had to deal with Longoria, who singled home Zobrist to give the Rays the lead. Longoria raised his career average against Sabathia to .396 with six doubles and six home runs.
“I lost my command,” Sabathia told reporters. “I tried to nibble, and it cost us the game. One bad inning; I felt like I couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
Sabathia departed in the seventh after allowing yet another hit to Fuld with one out. Preston Claiborne prevented Fuld from scoring but the next inning had no more success against Longoria than did Sabathia. The Rays third baseman crushed a 1-2 slider to center field for his 27th home run that gave Fernando Rodney (30th save) some insurance in the ninth as he closed it out for his 30th save in 37 tries.
Price (8-5) is now 6-1 in head-to-head matchups against Sabathia with the Rays winning seven of the nine games. The lefthander missed 44 games while on the 15-day disabled list because of a left triceps strain. Since returning from the DL July 2, Price is 7-1 with a 1.97 ERA. He seemed to lost faith in his fastball in the fifth inning and was touched for singles by Alex Rodriguez and Vernon Wells off hanging sliders. Mark Reynolds foiled Rays manager Joe Maddon’s overshift with a single to the right side to load the bases. The Yankees’ runs came on a walk to Austin Romine and an infield out by Ichiro Suzuki.
The Rays maintained their percentage-points edge over the Red Sox for the top spot in the AL East. Meanwhile, the Yankees dropped seven games out of first place in the division race and 4 ½ games behind the Athletics for the second wild-card berth.
Hiroki Kuroda has picked up the Yankees all season. Now his teammates can pay him back by picking up the rest of this series for him. Kuroda simply was not himself Friday night in a 7-2 loss to the Rays that stifled the momentum the Yankees were thriving on after sweeping a four-game series from Toronto that alerted other contenders that they intend to be in the thick of the race for a postseason berth.
The Yankees came from behind in all four games against the Blue Jays, but there would be no heroics at Tropicana Field as the Rays kept hitting balls over the fences to push the Yankees further behind over the first five innings.
Kuroda gave the Yankees innings – six – and little else. The seven runs and the four home runs were the most allowed in a game this year by Kuroda, who has yielded 20 hits in his past 11 2/3 innings. The Yanks gave Kuroda a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out, RBI single by Alfonso Soriano crossing up Rays manager Joe Maddon’s over-shift, but in the second the righthander was jolted by a three-run home run by Rays catcher Jose Lobaton that ended Kuroda’s homerless streak of 58 1/3 innings.
Tampa Bay kept it up with solo shots by Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce back-to-back in the third inning and Ben Zobrist leading off the fifth. Along the way, Lobaton picked up a fourth RBI on a single in the fourth. Kuroda entered the game leading the American League in earned run average but dropped into fifth place and surrendered the lead to the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.
The offensive surge was more than enough support for Chris Archer, another impressive young pitcher in the Rays’ corral who has been murder on the Yankees this year. The righthander held the Yankees to two runs, four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in seven innings to run his record against them this season to 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Archer, who pitched a two-hit shutout against the Yankees in his previous start against them July 27 at Yankee Stadium, became the first rookie pitcher to win three games against them in one season since 1989 by Kevin Brown, then with the Rangers.
The Yankees’ big bats were awfully quiet. Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Soriano and Alex Rodriguez combined for that one hit by Soriano in 16 at-bats with three strikeouts. Leadoff man Brett Gardner had a hand – rather, legs – in scoring both the Yankees’ runs.
He led off the game with a walk, stole second, crossed to third on a deep flyout by Granderson and scored on the hit by Soriano. Gardner tripled leading off the fifth and scored on an infield out by Cano. Gardner suffered an embarrassing moment in the eighth, which he led off with an infield single, by getting picked off first base by reliever Jamey Wright.
So the five-game winning streak is over, but the Yankees still have a chance to win the series, which they have done in each of their past four series. Saturday night’s second game of the set pairs former AL Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia and David Price. It will mark the ninth matchup between the two lefthanders. Price has had the upper hand in the rivalry with a 4-2 record and 2.52 ERA with the Rays winning six of the eight games.