It’s a bit of a deja vu here. CC Sabathia goes up against J.A. Happ and the Blue Jays, pitches a solid game, but ends up a loser thanks to lack of run support. The good news is that Sabathia’s run of newfound effectiveness is continuing. The bad news? Well, just about everything else. The Yankees have dropped two in a row to the Blue Jays to end their May.
CC Is Still Good
When his career is all said and done, we will probably remember him for his fireballing days of leading Indians, Brewers and Yankees to playoffs. However, at this stage of the career, Sabathia seems to have embraced a soft-tossing lefty role. As a result, as of this moment, he’s been able to induce more soft contact (25.6% coming into tonight, 16.5% last year) and infield pop ups (18.6% this year as opposed to 10.2% career).
After tossing six innings of 2 ER ball, he marked a nice end to his torrid May. Overall, Sabathia allowed only three earned runs in four starts, while logging 26.0 IP. It’s not all luck either. He’s also struck out 25 strikeouts while allowing only five walks during that span. What more could you ask for? Well, you could ask for… more support from the lineup. We’ll get to that later.
On to the negatives – he did allow a homer tonight. In the fourth, Sabathia uncorked a 89 mph sinker that caught just a bit too much plate to Justin Smoak. The Jays first baseman didn’t miss much of it – he drove it just over the left center wall for a game-tying solo homer. It’s just the second dinger that Sabathia has allowed all year, which is pretty incredible if you think about it. It’s May 31!
Speaking of solid pitching performances, the Yankee hitters let another one happen against them tonight. Oops.
Runs Are Not Happ-ening
The Yankees faced the newly-fixed J.A. Happ three times this season. They’ve lost all three of those. In those three starts, Happ has only allowed three earned runs in 19 IP against the Bronx Bombers. That is not a good look for the Yankee lineup.
Happ wasn’t exactly blowing the Yankee hitters away (3 K’s in 6 IP, 7 whiffs in 97 pitches) and he also benefited from a few stellar defensive plays (think: Kevin Pillar) but it wasn’t like the Yankee bats looked domineering as well. New York did score a run off of him – but it wasn’t easy.
In the top of second, the Yankees started the frame with two consecutive hits – a double from Chase Headley and an infield single by Austin Romine. Sounds promising, right? Didi Gregorius followed it up with a shallow fly out that failed to move up the runners. Next up, Aaron Hicks nearly hit into a double play but just beat the throw to first by a beat to earn an RBI ground out. Oh, and the Yankees led 1-0.
They had a lead for about two and a half innings and never had it again.
The Seventh Inning of Doom
With Dellin Betances warming up, Joe Girardi let Sabathia start the bottom of seventh with just under 80 pitches. The leash was obviously super short though – the lefty allowed a leadoff double to Edwin Encarnacion and Joe pulled him out for Betances. Sabathia was obviously not pleased but hey, gotta trust the Betances – Andrew Miller – Aroldis Chapman sequence, right? Well, it’s not really a foolproof solution.
Betances made first two outs rather stress-free. After walking Devon Travis, Betances allowed a go-ahead single to Kevin Pillar for a 2-1 Jays lead. Toronto wasn’t done. Darwin Barney followed it up with a two-run single that widened the lead to 4-1. The way the offense looked tonight, you might as well as call three-run deficit Mount Himalaya and just like that, the Yankee bats went away quietly the next two innings. Headley’s ninth inning single was the only baserunner they had.
The Yankees had six hits tonight. Chase Headley was the only hitter to have a multi-hit game with two. His avg is up to .236 and OPS, .636. They are both not pretty but, well, it’s an improvement. I’d love to see where both stand by the end of June.
Kirby Yates continued his solid 2016 campaign with a scoreless frame in the eighth. Earlier this season when he made the roster, I thought he could have been this year’s Chris Martin – making the roster from ST and flaming out soon thereafter. However, he has a pretty darn nice 2.25 ERA in 20.0 IP. He’s striking out a good clip (9.90 K/9) while allowing only 13 hits in twenty frames.
Box Score, Highlights, WPA and Standings
The Yankees will try to avoid being swept in the series finale Thursday. Masahiro Tanaka and Aaron Sanchez will be the starters.