CC Sabathia is struggling in big games
Another largely important game, another Yankees’ loss. Just when New York got it together long enough to win two close games over a last place team, it figured out a way to lose the opener to the Rays.
This had all the makings of a 2012 Yankees’ loss:
1. Starting pitching incapable of holding a lead or ending a threat without a few runs of damage.
2. Excellent defense by the other team.
3. Costly defense by the Yankees.
4. An Alex Rodriguez home run ultimately meaning nothing.
5. A winnable game where there wasn’t even a real attempt in the ninth.
6. A lack of timely hitting.
This team is not enjoyable. It doesn’t have the fight of the 2009 Yankees. It doesn’t have the health of the 2010 Yankees. It doesn’t have the patience of the 2011 Yankees. This is a team where Curtis Granderson swings at the first pitch with the tying run in scoring position after the previous batter walked on four pitches.
This is a team where CC Sabathia cannot win a big game, or, as of recently, any game. Just for fun, he seems to have a lead every start to blow as well.
This is a team where Eduardo Nunez is starting at shortstop in September and makes yet another big error. It’s frustrating and tiresome. Outside of Derek Jeter, who flailed effortlessly at an 0-2 pitch from Fernando Rodney to end the game, there is not a single hitter or pitcher you can truly say you trust in a big spot.
And how could you? They have no wins when trailing after eight innings this year. They have five wins when they don’t hit a home run. They are 29-29 in the second half, and 34-32 since the first day of July. This team is 3-3 in extra innings, 18-22 in one run games and 10 games over .500 against the American League the entire season.
How did the Yankees score their runs?
Home run by Granderson (solo shot of course), two-run homer by A-Rod down three, and a single by journeyman Steve Pearce, who will not be on the playoff roster.
The Rays? A hit there, a walk here, a wild pitch by Sabathia (who had two in one inning), a home run by B.J. Upton (his 18th against the Yankees in his career), a ball that literally went under Eduardo Nunez‘s glove in the ninth inning of a one run game with two outs, opposite field hitting, some bunting and a lot of steals. Three of them to be exact. Elliot Johnson took away a run when Rodriguez hit a soft grounder to second that almost got through but instead was nabbed with a finish to first base.
The Rays were faster, played better defense, were more patient, had the better starter David Price , and the superior bullpen. Now they have a 6-4 victory and have put the Yankees in danger of falling out of first place.
If the Yankees find a way to win the next two games (doubtful since they can’t seem to do anything except squeak two our of three against doormats), they can put Tampa away for the most part. If the Rays lose two out of three they will be five games behind New York with 16 games remaining. Of the 16, the Yankees would have 13 against teams under .500.