CC Sabathia Roughed Up; Yanks Fall to Rays, 5-1

Howard Goldin

Bronx, NY---The inability of the New Yor Yankees’ starting pitchers to win games has become a serious issue for the club. During the first 17 days of the 2014 campaign, April 1-17, Yankee starters recorded 10 wins, but in the next 17 days, April 18-May4, Yankee starting pitchers only have three wins.

Their inability to go deep into games has also put undue pressure upon its overworked bullpen. After Sunday’s game, Yankee skipper Joe Girardi stated this clearly, “We have to start getting length out of our starters.”

This was certainly something that did not happen in Sunday’s game. CC Sabathia, the ace of the Yankee staff since signing with the franchise on December 18, 2008, was especially disappointing. The 3.2 innings he pitched was his shortest outing since October 2, 2009, which was also against Tampa Bay.

The lefty has been extremely effective at Yankee Stadium, compiling a record of 43-19. His only shorter start at the ballpark in the Bronx took place in his rookie season, on June 27, 2001. As a member of the Cleveland Indians, he yielded six runs in one inning to the Yankees.

The onslaught against Sabathia on Sunday began in the first frame. Logan Forsythe led off the contest with a double to right, and was driven in by an Evan Longoria double two batters later. Longoria leads all visiting players with 37 runs batted in at the new Yankee Stadium.

With one out in the third, Desmond Jennings doubled. Longoria followed by drawing a walk. The next batter, Will Myers, blasted a ball over the head of centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and sprinted around the bases for a rare standing inside-the-park home run to score three. The last player on the Rays to hit an inside-the-park homer was Ben Zobrist on September 25, 2011.

Myers’ double in the following inning drove in his fourth run in the contest and led to Sabathia’s removal from the game. The two hits extended Myers’ hitting streak at Yankee Stadium to the first 13 games he played at the iconic venue. a new record for a rookie at either park named Yankee Stadium.

The 33 year-old pitcher yielded five runs and 10 hits in his short stint. Girardi was uncharacteristically blunt in describing Sabathia’s performance, “Today, he really struggled. It was probably his hardest start this year. I didn’t think he had his good slider, his good change-up. He just didn’t have his good stuff.”

Sabathia a former Cy Young Award recipient, was unhappy with his performance on the mound, “It’s frustrating to go out and not give us a good opportunity to win.”

He was in no way critical of fans who booed him, “I would have booed myself today. I wouldn’t want to come to the ballpark and see that.”

Sabathia explained his attitude this season with that of last year when he was very negative towards his performances. He expressed in several statements, after the game, his belief that he will improve, “I’ve gotten these guys out. I know I can do it again. I can’t let a little adversity throw what I’ve done out the window. I feel that I can turn this thing around. I’ll come out of this thing and be the guy we need.”

A very positive pitching sign was the appearance of Alfredo Aceves for the first time this season. He pitched 5.1 innings in relief of Sabathia, yielding only three hits and blanking the Rays. Despite his effectiveness on Sunday, Girardi does not, at this time,desire to insert him into the starting rotation.

The next game at Yankee Stadium, Monday, May 12, will be the first game of this year’s Subway Series between the Yanks and Mets.

howardg53@yahoo.com