Sabathia gives up five homers in loss to Rays

A-Rod's rehab HR headlines big night in minors
The AL MVP race

This was a weird one. It was the first time in a while, I guess since last September, that I watched a baseball game and honestly wasn’t bothered by anything on the field. I guess I’ve reached that point of the season where I’m just going through the motions, counting down the days on the calendar as the Yankees nurse their lead on a playoff spot. Let’s recap…

  • Solo homeruns usually won’t beat you, but they will when you give up five of them like CC Sabathia did in this game. Three of those five came in the third inning, the second time in his career he’s surrendered three homers in an inning. Two of them were hit by lefties (Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon) in that third inning, after he’d allowed just two homers to lefties all season. The five homers are a new career-high allowed, which I’m sure you’ve already guessed.
  • The common theme of the night for Sabathia was location, or lack there of. All five homers came on pitches that missed their spots, several of them substantially. The pitch Kotchman hit out wasn’t even a strike, it was up at his eyes and he just tomahawked it out. None of them were Yankee Stadium specials really, maybe Evan Longoria’s in the eighth inning was borderline. This was just a case of homerun rate regression, more than anything. Sabathia came into the game with a 0.39 HR/9 and 4.9% HR/FB on the season, well below his career marks (0.76 and 8.2%, respectively). It was bound to even out at some point, good thing he got it out of the way all at once.
  • This is the fourth time the Yankees have faced David Price this year, and he’s gotten better and better each time out. This time it was eight innings of one-run ball, though he got a little help from a perfect relay by Sean Rodriguez to cut Nick Swisher down at the plate to end the fourth. One run had scored on the play, and if Swish was safe, then all of a sudden it’s a 3-2 game with Andruw Jones on second. Who knows.
  • Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Swisher, Jones, and Brett Gardner all had exactly one hit. Jones’ double was the only non-single. Swisher also drew a walk, and that pretty sums up the offense. Jeter grounded into a pair of double plays, something he hasn’t done in a while. In fairness, once was a really nice play by Rodriguez. Price struck out just four, but got 15 ground ball outs compared to just four in the air.
  • Luis Ayala manged to pitch into and out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth. He’s quite good at that, I’ve noticed. Hector Noesi, meanwhile, has thrown 2.2 innings in the last 16 days. He did start to get loose in that eighth inning, so that means he’s unavailable for a few days, right? Oh, and what’s the point of sending CC back out there for the eighth? Just because he can throw 110 pitches a start doesn’t mean he has to. Save some of those bullets!
  • The win brings Tampa to within 7.5 games of the Yankees for the wildcard, the closest they’ve been in two weeks. Here’s the box score, here’s the advanced stats, and here’s the updated standings.

The Yankees announced that they will have a pregame ceremony on the field before Saturday afternoon’s game to honor Derek Jeter’s 3,000th career hit. So make sure you get there early, if you’re heading out. If you’re not going but want to, RAB Tickets can get you there dirt cheap. Phil Hughes will be making what is likely his last start for a while, matching up against Jeremy Hellickson.

A-Rod's rehab HR headlines big night in minors
The AL MVP race
  • BklynJT

    That’s right CC, get those stinkers out of your system before the playoffs.

  • ItsATarp

    I know CC made some bad pitches but essentially all those Homeruns in one game is a rare oddity and dare i say luck. (but unlike AJ getting 5-6 wall scraper HR’s kind of luck). The fact that CC had a 50% GB rate in the game meant nearly every other fly ball he gave up was out of there. Add in the fatc that 2 of the HR came up in out of the zone to two lefties, and that CC still managed 7 k’s 0 walks is a complete oddity. Once in a blue moon…maybe even less.

  • Jesse

    CC needs to get back to regular rest.

    • Troll Killer

      regular rest, 5 day rest, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW HE PITCHES EVERY FIFTH DAY!!!

    • Jim

      I don’t know if the other five would complain, but, why can’t JG just say CC we’re keeping the six man, but, you’ll go on normal rest? Also, I know he’s pitched in this condition, but, the last three games have gone south just like CC’s weight. Can it be that he’s having a problem keeping the basics the same with the added weight with the knee problem from last year?

  • Dino Velvet

    The Rays hit too many home runs. They won’t win many games hitting homers.


  • CP

    CC’s biggest problem tonight was that he didn’t have his personal catcher going with him today…

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      No wonder all those homers were Martin’s fault.

    • bonestock94

      I HATE this narrative

      • Troll Killer

        He was being sarcastic.

  • Wow

    Here’s to hoping the Rays got all their offense out of their system for this series tonight. These next two match ups ain’t any easier. sheesh.

  • Jesse

    so, what did Matt have to say about Martin today? lol

  • Bob Michaels

    Hard to believe

  • forensic

    I find it pretty funny how some people are so convinced that this series means nothing yet the last one was ‘the most important series of the season (to date)’ despite there being only a one game difference between the records and that the Rays play the Yankees three more time than the Angels do.

    • Jesse

      i don’t care who the yankees play. every series is important because you want to win games so you can catch the Red Sox for the division.

    • Chen Meng Wang

      I agree with Jesse, the Division is still very attainable, therefore should be priority number one, making every series important. I think the reason that last series had a bigger feel than this one is because the Angels stock was/is on the way up heading into it, while the Rays stock as gone down and plateaued (fuck that word looks weird…four vowels in a row, when do you see that) over the last few months.

      • Owen Two

        fuck that word looks weird

        According to Merriam-Webster online, ‘plateaued’ is correct, so congrats on your spelling.

        four vowels in a row, when do you see that

        In the word ‘queue’.


  • Countryclub

    CC hasn’t looked good since after the 2nd rain delay a few weeks ago.

  • Matt Imbrogno

    So did Michael Kay trot out his lines about not being able to beat good pitchers with the home run ball?

    Also, why was Sabathia pitching the 8th? Just ’cause the dude can throw 110-120 pitches every time out there doesn’t mean that he should.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Just a weird game for CC. That is all.

  • Winston Smith

    With aces like CC who needs bums like AJ? If CC is hurt he needs to inform the club. If he needs to be on regular rest then they need to drop this 6 man rotation charade and put AJ in the bullpen.

    • Pasqua

      Why assume he’s hurt? He struggled with location against the White Sox, Red Sox, and now, Rays. Even within those starts, he’s had stretches of good pitching. An injury would seem more likely if the velocity was down and he was getting lit-up constantly. In this case, CC looks like he’s just “slumping.”

      • amr5026

        He very may well be in a slump. We’ve been spoiled by three seasons of great CC and watching him have back to back games where he’s teed off of is stunning. My first thought after the third homerun was CC’s injured and he’s/they’re not telling, too. But because he walked none and K’d seven, maybe it’s just a string of epic bad luck. Boy, I sure hope that’s what it is. But I agree with Winston, if he’s injured, he needs to speak up.

        • Pasqua

          I would hope he’d speak up about an injury, but I still think it’s putting the cart before the horse. Take Rivera as an example. An article here yesterday revealed that his cutter is still cutting, but catching too much of the plate. This has lead to a string of shaky performances by Mo, but no one is worried that he’s injured (just old…a completely different narrative). In CC’s case, his location has been way off. He’ll adjust and be dominant in short order, I’m sure. I’ll put bad luck and bad mechanics ahead of injury at this point.

  • toad

    This was just a case of homerun rate regression, more than anything. Sabathia came into the game with a 0.39 HR/9 and 4.9% HR/FB on the season, well below his career marks (0.76 and 8.2%, respectively). It was bound to even out at some point, good thing he got it out of the way all at once.


    Pet peeve.

    That’s not what regression means. If you flip a coin ten times and it comes up heads the first two that doesn’t mean it’s bound to come up tails more often the rest of the way.

    Even if Sabathia is doing better than expected on those numbers so far, that doesn’t mean he was bound to do worse at some point.

    • Pasqua

      Allow me peeve your peeve. You’re right that Sabathia was not “bound to do worse,” but I think the idea of regression to the mean is that, the longer you sustain something contradictory to the average, the higher the likelihood that it will continue to be sustained. So, regression to the mean is not saying that Sabathia was fated to give up a bunch of homers, but his career numbers suggested that his rate was LIKELY to increase at some point. Just a thought.

      • Pasqua

        correction: the higher the likelihood that it WON’T continue to be sustained.

      • Hardy

        toad is absolutely correct.

        And your (corrected) point is wrong. The larger the sample size, the higher is the likelyhood that the difference to the average is largely due to the underlying probability (in this case, the talent level) and not due to random chance.

        Further reading:

        • toad


          When a player performs better than his career averages for a time one of two things is happening. Either he’s being lucky or he has improved and his previous career numbers no longer reflect his true ability.

          In the former case we expect to see regression, which means that he will start to perform at his career levels – not worse to “make up” for his luck, but at his normal level. In the second we expect him to continue to perform, on average, at the new, higher level.

          How to tell? No easy way, but it’s true that the longer he maintains the higher level the more likely that we are seeing an improvement, rather than just a good run of luck.

  • Hardy

    I don’t get this relaxed attitute towards the Rays. According to their WC probability is twice that of all other non-NY non-BOS teams combined. So this is the biggest series this season to date.

    • Pasqua

      Please tell me this is sarcastic. The Yankees are almost a 98% lock to make the postseason compared to the Rays’ 3.2% (and Toronto’s 0.1% chance and Baltimore’s 0% chance). Seeing as we’re Yankees fans…yeah…not too worried.

      • Hardy

        I am not too worried, either. But this series is still more important than the Angels series earlier this week and way more important than the upcoming Royals series.

  • KeithK

    “Going through the motions” with the Yankees and Red Sox separated by one game in August? What a sad statement on the state of baseball. Get rid of the freaking wild card so we can enjoy a pennant race.

  • Joel

    Worked late last night, as my schedule has me doing 3 or 4 nights per week as of late. I was looking forward to checking in on another Yankee win, especially with CC on the mound. Boy was I floored to see not only did the Yanks loose, but CC gave up 5 HRs, and 3 of them in the 3rd.

    Not exactly the way I wanted my day to end.