The Yankees have not only lost two in a row after a six-game winning streak, but they also dropped a series against Blue Jays today. CC Sabathia turned in a solid start – seven innings of no earned runs (2 unearned) with seven strikeouts – but the offense failed to pick him up against J.A. Happ and Blue Jays relievers.
It seems like CC has figured out how to pitch without a blistering fastball. Gamescore-wise (75), this was his best start since August 3, 2012 (78 in a CG versus the Seattle Mariners). He’s also thrown three consecutive starts with 6 IP or more with 1 ER or less for the first time since 2011. I want to see how long he can keep up this new effectiveness. It would be pretty neat if it’s for real.
The big man threw only 83 pitches in 7 innings, allowed 2 hits, 2 runs (no earned) while striking out 7. He looked like he had good command of all of his pitches and, maybe it’s the hot weather, but his velocity bumped up as well, touching 93 mph in YES Network gun few times.
Looking at CC’s stats, one that may show his different approach is the Infield Fly Ball Percentage. His GB% (45.5) isn’t too different than career norm (45.4%) yet he’s allowing significantly less HR (0.26 per 9 IP). While I don’t think it’ll stay that low at all, it’s pretty encouraging to see that he’s inducing infield pop ups in a quite high rate (17.1% as opposed to 10.2% career rate). What does that mean? It could mean that CC’s new approach is messing with hitters’ timing and effective at inducing harmless pop ups. Or it could be a small size sample fluke based on six starts. It’ll be something I’ll be watching for quite awhile. Sabathia earned his share of meal ticket for today; offense, on the other hand…
The Yankees got the scoring started with a Starlin Castro homer in the second. With two outs, Castro took a 92 mph fastball from Happ and hit it into the Yankee bullpen. Russell Martin set the target in and Happ located it a bit off – in fact, it didn’t look like it was going to be in the strike zone. Nonetheless, Castro reached out and squared it up. 1-0 Yankees. Sadly, this was the only run the Yankees scored all day.
Here are some numbers from today:
Team RISP: 0-for-4
Team LOB: 5
Hitters with hits: Castro, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, Jacoby Ellsbury (all of them 1 each)
So the Yankees didn’t really hit much, and when they did, they couldn’t bring’em in. Perfect! That’s how you don’t get the job done. A Ray Searage-fixed J.A. Happ baffled the lineup all game long. The Jays took a gamble on his newfound effectiveness and it’s paid off handsomely so far.
In the eighth, Gavin Floyd came into the game to relieve Happ. Ellsbury pinch-hit for Austin Romine to lead off and reached on an infield single. Brett Gardner grounded out to first to advance Ellsbury to second, setting up a runner in scoring position with one out. However, Aaron Hicks and Castro both failed to score the runner, leaving Yankees trailing 2-1 into the ninth.
Aroldis Chapman came into pitch while the team trailed 2-1 in the ninth inning. He allowed three singles to allow an earned run but also struck out two. That run he gave up though was pretty big – that 2-1 deficit for Yankees looked challenging enough. 3-1 made it pretty much insurmountable.
A-Rod came back to the lineup today and struck out twice in four AB’s. Carlos Beltran didn’t seem comfortable in the box all day and earned a golden sombrero – 0-for-4 with 4 K’s. Ouch.
Box Score, Highlights, WPA, Standings
The Yankees are off to Tampa for a three-game series with the Rays. Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Archer will be on the mound Friday night.