Sabathia steals the show as Yanks’ pound Rays

Bleich & Warren shine as Garcia gets bad news
Game 6: Two series, two rubber games

Fresh off a drubbing at the hands of the Rays last night, the Yankees returned to the field this afternoon looking to get back in the win column. Joe Girardi handed the ball off to his ace, and CC Sabathia didn’t disappoint.

Photo Credit: Mike Carlson, AP

Si Si

Forget big hits and big outs, the story of Saturday’s game is clear. Coming off an outing in which he gave up five runs in 5.1 innings, Sabathia wasn’t about to be shown up by David Price, another fire-balling lefty who dominated the Yankees Friday night for close to eight innings. Less than 24 hours later on Saturday afternoon, CC was quite literally large and in charge.

The 4th inning ended just the like the three before it, with three outs recorded and no one reaching base. It was too early to start to starting thinking about a date with perfection, but it was apparent Sabathia had it all working. Evan Longoria walked to leadoff the 5th, and it wasn’t until the 7th inning that the Rays were able to muster another baserunner.

CC absolutely dominated the Rays across seven-plus innings, taking a no-hitter into the 8th and never allowing more than one batter to reach base in any inning. Just 69 of his 111 pitches were strikes, but home plate Wally Bell had a pretty tight strike zone. Apparently he didn’t get the memo from Joe West about speeding up the game. Fourteen of those 69 strikes came when Tampa batters swung and missed, a whopping 20.3%.

Joe Maddon’s lineup was stacked with righthanders, but Sabathia mowed through them with a fastball that topped out at 96 and a changeup that shined like justice. Kelly Shoppach, CC’s former catcher in Cleveland, broke up the no-hit bid with a 0-1 single in the 8th, which prompted Joe Girardi to go and get his starter without hesitation. Sabathia had thrown 111 pitches, most of them with little or no stress, but throwing that many pitches this early in the year isn’t exactly ideal. Girardi said Shoppach was going to be CC’s last batter one way or the other, but that’s something every manager says after their starter loses a no-hitter late in the game.

If true, I think he was just taking mercy on those poor Tampa hitters. They were simply no match for the Yankee ace.

Photo Credit: Mike Carlson, AP

Biggest Hit: Robinson Cano‘s two run homer

When you win by a score of 10-0, none of the hits are really all that big. In terms of WPA, it was Robbie Cano‘s two run shot off of Wade Davis that opened the scoring in the 4th inning. We had ourselves a good old fashioned pitching duel up to that point, but once Cano went deep, the Yankees never looked back.

Frankly, the biggest hit of the afternoon didn’t even come off the bat of a Yankee. It was Shoppach’s knock that ended CC’s chance at history.

Biggest Out: B.J. Upton’s fly out

Sabathia was in control all night, and there really wasn’t a moment where a hit would have swung the momentum into Tampa’s favor. B.J. Upton flew out harmlessly to end the 5th inning with Longoria on third, which was the biggest threat the Rays could mount against the Yanks’ ace. Still, the score was 4-0 in favor of the good guys at the time.

Things that made me smile

Photo Credit: Mike Carlson, AP

How about that defense? Mark Teixeira preserved the no-no with a diving grab of Jason Bartlett’s line drive to end the 5th, then A-Rod did him one better by making a diving grab of his own on a B.J. Upton line drive in the 7th, throwing out the speedy centerfielder with a few strides to spare. That’s the moment when the no-hit talk really got serious. The team was playing superb defense behind Sabathia, which is what you need to hold a big league team to zero hits over the course of a game.

Tex and A-Rod also did some good things with the stick as well. The Yanks’ first baseman broke out of a 0-for-17 slump by picking up a trio of hits, while A-Rod picked up his 1,000th knock in pinstripes. Part of me still feels like he just got here.

And what about this Brett Gardner character? He ever so quietly went 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored, two driven in, and his third stolen base on the season. The 27 total pitches he saw were more than any other player on the field, and he’s hitting a cool .385-.467-.385 in three starts and one appearance as a defensive replacement. Forget this Marcus Thames against lefthanders nonsense, let’s see what Brett The Jet can do with a full-time job.

Frankie Cervelli taking inside pitches. That exaggerated bend at the waist he does while throwing his open hands in the air gets me every time.

WPA Graph

Make sure you check out the individual player breakdowns at FanGraphs’ box score.

Next Up

These two teams are right back at it tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:40pm ET, and it’ll be nationally broadcast on TBS if you’re outside the NY market. A.J. Burnett will try to one up Sabathia, getting the ball against Jamie Shields. Good luck with that.

Bleich & Warren shine as Garcia gets bad news
Game 6: Two series, two rubber games
  • Hangoverologist

    I’d love for Gardy to post a monster year, so come the offseason we won’t have a need to sign Crawford or Werth.

    • pat

      + 4 yrs 60 millon.

  • Tom Zig

    A.J. Burnett will try to one up Sabathia

    When Good AJ shows up…anything is possible.

    • JobaTheHeat62


  • V

    What’s annoyed me more than the tight strike zone is the fact that NO ONE is calling checked swings strikes. That Longoria at bat should have ended on a K swinging, when he clearly went around. When it takes 10 seconds to make the call, please get it right.

    (And yes, the Yankees have benefited from the non-strike calls so far this season, also).

    • Salty Buggah

      I was going to say this but I’m glad you did. It angered me a lot when that happened.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Overall point: Umpires need to be let go, robots need to come in. Why are people happy with wrongness? That seems…wrong.

      • Conchobar

        Apparently because baseball needs the element of human error. It’s better to have terrible calls with humans than correct calls with the aid of technology.

        • Pete C.

          Shouldn’t the human error be confined to the athletes, rather than the officials?
          I didn’t see Joe West’s strike zone the other night, but it seems to me when the strike zone is small to begin with, and individual umps tailoring it further to suit their individual whims that evening.
          I’m feeling a little low and away tonight thanks.

        • Poopy Pants

          It works for the government, so why not baseball?

          wocka wocka

  • Salty Buggah

    “Forget this Marcus Thames against lefthanders nonsense, let’s see what Brett The Jet can do with a full-time job.”

    Nice to see Mike change his stance on Gardy. It’s funny what a sucky player can do to change the perception of another player (i.e. Ransom making A-Rod haters appreciate him more) Next up: JMK, Andy in Sunny Daytona, and a few others.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I’m already on the “Give Speed a Chance” Train (this includes Randy Winn). I’m not saying Gardner is the answer long term, but he’s definitely the answer right now.

      • Salty Buggah

        Nice. JMK has improved also.

        I doubt Gardy is a long-term answer also but I think he is a very valuable player.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    For the sake of my fantasy team, Shields must get destroyed.

    • JobaTheHeat62 fantasy team is fucked…a 5.82 ERA will do that you…assclown Galardo

      • Tom Zig

        Psh. I have Carlos Zambrano and Mike Gonzalez.

        • bexarama

          oh OUCH on the Gonzalez thing, at least Zambrano got a W today right?

        • Zack

          Well I have Gallardo AND Mike Gonzalez

  • ultimate913

    “Forget this Marcus Thames against lefthanders nonsense, let’s see what Brett The Jet can do with a full-time job.”

    YES!!! Screw Crawford and his potential 4yr-60mil contract that he’d want. Screw Thames. He’s not helping anyone except the opposing team with his horrible defense. I say drop Thames in June and trade back for Hairston. Seeing what Gardner can do in a full season, given the starting job would be great.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Let’s kind of wait a full season.

      • ultimate913

        I don’t know what you’re talking about. The season ended on Opening Night when the Yanks lost to the Sox. That’s when the Yanks offseason started…again.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Technically it isn’t. The chances of winning the World Series or even reaching the playoffs is over therefore making this season pointless. But there are still many useless games to play.

  • JobaTheHeat62

    I am still confused as to why Thames plays and not Randy Winn…I mean they both suck horribly, but at least Randy Winn can somewhat play defense and run the bases if by some chance he gets on. This really is Cody Ransom all over again. We fans will be boggled as to the amount of playing time the clown gets when there is such obvious better options.

    • whozat

      Beeecause Thames has a track record of being a more useful hitter than Winn against lefties?

      All you people closing the book on a guy who has an actual MLB track record after 5 games are being ridiculous.

      • Tom Zig

        All you people closing the book on a guy who has an actual MLB track record after 5 games at bats are being ridiculous.

        I’m not a Thames fan, but his career SLG% against lefties is a pretty .514

        • pete

          that that that that that. There’s a chance that Gardner hits well enough to render the whole Thames thing moot. But he hasn’t done that yet, because we’re five games into the season. In the meantime, Thames does have to get SOME at-bats so that he can actually be the hitter that he has been over the course of his career. Hitters who get an AB every 5 or so games are not going to be able to do anything with those ABs.

  • pat

    Frankie looked so sad after that hit to Shoppach. I freakin love that kid.

    • Salty Buggah


      I know that normally I hate saying how someone is gritty, hard-working, etc. but Frankie is a truly passionate player. You just have to love that kid and on top of that, he has played very well in the majors thus far.

      Kinda related to this, since Frankie has become such a fan favorite, should we give him #21? There’s nothing wrong with the 29 he has now but someone has to take 21 someday and Frankie is perfect for it since most fans won’t mind if he takes it. I don’t know, maybe I’m just thinking out loud here.

      Anyway, Cervelli is awesome.

      • vin

        Interesting thought on the #21. Would be a good way of solving that silly problem.

        I was really pleased with the way the ball seemed to carry off Frankie’s bat. He had a warning track fly-out (IIRC), and his opposite field double just kept carrying. Molina had become so useless at the plate, and his defense seemed to slip last year that Frankie should be a better (and cheaper) backup catcher.

  • AJ B.

    I like the robot idea for baseball. Screw the human element. If baseball was more like 2020 Super Baseball for NeoGeo I’d be satisfied.

  • BigBlueAL

    I just saw the Matsui walk-off hit tonight. Off to a great start so far, 2 HR and hitting over .400. Dunno how long he will remain healthy but hopefully for him he has another good season, will always have love for Hideki.

    Gotta say I thought after that Arod play to end the 7th it was destiny for CC. Before week started I wouldve taken a 3-3 record for the week in a heartbeat so if the Yanks can win on Sunday and go 4-2 for opening week I would be more than thrilled.

    • Conchobar

      Yeah, good for Hideki. I hope he has a great season. Can’t wait to see the reception he receives at the home opener next week.

    • dalelama

      But the delicate had one walk…lol…

      • Buck Nasty

        Yeah he did. And he drove up the pitch count of the opposing pitcher. Which helped get him out of the game, and get to the bullpen. Which has a carry over effect to today’s game. I don’t know when you’ll get it through your head, but Nick Johnson is good at baseball.

      • bexarama

        Yeah. And he had a game-winning walk against the Sox. You’re Bo-level.

      • pete

        walk = single

        NJ’s OBP = very VERY valuable.

  • Salty Buggah

    This game was one of the most enjoyable regular season games I’ve seen in a while (well, the season IS just 5 games old but ignore that fact for now). CC was unbelievable the whole game. The defense made some of the greatest and timely plays I’ve seen in a Yankees game in recent times. The offense was relentless once again, getting hit after hit, run after run. The Yankees had a secure lead yet everyone followed every pitch with anticipation because of CC’s potential no-no, which is the best combination since it doesn’t make the game too stressful to watch but doesn’t make it boring either. Just a great game all-around.

    • vin

      Agreed. Complete domination. The Yanks dominated every aspect of the game. The infield defense was incredible. I wonder how long before that quartet starts getting talked about as among the greatest infields ever (sorry, Conlin).

      • pete

        why on earth would you include that “sorry, Conlin” remark? The article would have been dumb even if the yankees didn’t have A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, and Teix in their infield right now, because the ’75 Reds’ infield is significantly better than Polanco/Rollins/Utley/Howard could ever dream of being. Don’t get me wrong, Utley is one of the best all-around players in the game, and Howard is pretty close to that level as well, but Rollins is an average shortstop overall, and Polanco is at best average at 3B. Hell, the Rays have a better all-around infield than the Phils this year too. There’s no reason to be sorry for disagreeing with an absolute tool, especially when that guy is unbelievably wrong.

        • vin

          I wasn’t really apologizing to Conlin. He is a tool, and his article was ridiculous. Just thought I’d head off the:

          “The Phils have the best IF ever.

          Bill Conlin”


          I forgot which site sought to determine the best infields ever (including catcher), but I remember the 70s Reds ran away with it. Bench and Morgan were so dominant.

          What I think is interesting about this Yankee team is that the regular lineup has the 3 outfielders hitting 7-8-9. I wonder how many playoff caliber teams have had that. It just goes to show how great their infielders are.

  • Cecala

    I think the giant helmet gives Cervelli that extra cuteness factor that just warms the hearts of Yankee fans around the globe. How excited he was when he hit that single just melted my heart.

  • theyankeewarrior

    Did anyone else hear McCarver say that Crawford might get traded for draft picks?

    • http://deleted RollingWave

      well, he use to play basketball AND football

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        Yeah but did he punt? Because that’s what’s important.

    • Poopy Pants

      You heard wrong. McCarver said Crawford might get traded for ‘wiener pics’.

  • larryf

    I loved the replay of Gardner bouncing into a force play at second. The throw back to first couldn’t even capture Bret the Jet in the frame. He was already 15 feet past first. Great to have speed. I actually thought with his speed he could have tried for the single with a dive but….another time

  • vin

    Anyone else realize that Randy Winn has gotten into every game as a defensive replacement thus far? A late-game OF of Gardner, Curtis and Winn is pretty nasty.

    • pete

      Seriously. I do wonder (not that it’s relevant or worth trying at this point) if the ultimate defensive OF for this team would be Winn in left, Gardner in center, and Curtis in right, since Grandy’s got such a great arm (who knew?).

      • vin

        In theory, sure. But Curtis has never played RF in the big leagues as far as I can tell. I also have been surprised by the strength of his arm. I’m sure Melky’s is stronger, but Curtis seems to be more accurate thus far.

        I’m just happy to have four competent OFers on the roster.

        • pete

          Yeah Melk’s was definitely stronger, but Curtis just seems to make a quality throw every time he has a chance, and has enough arm strength for that to be worthwhile. People do tend to understate just how strong Melky’s arm was, though. He was definitely inconsistent with it, and didn’t have those launches that Vlad and Jose Guillen occasionally did, but he did throw a few Ichiro-esque seeds.

          Speaking of arm strength, though, does Upton have a cannon or what? I honestly don’t think i’ve ever seen him throw a ball with any arc on it at all, and yet he is consistantly hitting his targets in the air or on one hop. He might be my favorite non-yankee to watch.

  • dalelama

    Just don’t have them in consecutive batting order in a close game as a lefty reliever would mow them down…

    • pete

      don’t have who bat in consecutive order in a close game?

      I’m sorry but if we’re facing a lefty, then Granderson-Gardner would be an ideal 8-9. Two guys with speed, the one of whom has exceptional power. I don’t know how you can whine about this team. Honestly. What would you have done that would have made it better?

      • bexarama

        waaah sob Nick Johnson sucks.


        • 20/20 Vision

          I have never seen where Daleama has said that Nick Johnson sucks.
          He is only saying: Matsui >> Johnson
          Walks are fine but a couple of doubles and HR’s could be mixed in there as well.

          • pete

            they will be come season’s end. He has at least one double so far to boot. Believe me, NJ will be more valuable this year than Matsui will be.

          • bexarama

            After yesterday’s game, his only comment was complaining about Nick Johnson not getting a hit. I agree hits are nice, but his excessive whining about NJ/Matsui based on five games is extremely irritating.

  • Not The Rays

    My favorite part (Non-CC and defense and Robbie division) was how comfortable Granderson looked when he smoked Choate (which clearly sounds very very dirty, sorry)

  • smurfy

    Mr. Axisa, “…Sabathia mowed through them with a fastball that topped out at 96 and a changeup that shined like justice.”

    That is some spicy sauce.