(The look of a beaten man. Courtesy of the AP)
It's strange thinking about how much the feeling you have when CC Sabathia is starting has changed in just 1 year. Last year there would have been nobody I wanted on the mound today more than CC, history at Fenway Park being what it is. This year? I didn't want him anywhere near the mound with a game of this magnitude hanging in the balance. The Yankees lost a game to the Rays in the race for the second Wild Card spot last night, they couldn't afford to lose another. 4 games to make up in the loss column with 13 to play is a lot to overcome, and that's before you include the last-minute scratching of Alfonso Soriano with a thumb injury, so the Yankees needed Sabathia to not just not suck but pitch well and they needed to get a win to even the series back up.
- Jon Lester only used 33 pitches to turn the lineup over in order through a perfect 3 innings. His stuff looked good, the Yankee lineup was short again, and that put even more pressure on CC.
- CC pitched a clean 1st, then got burned on a Mark Reynolds throwing error in the bottom of the 2nd and it started to fall apart. He started picking corners and missing for walks, misplacing fastballs in the strike zone for hits, and it led to 3 Boston runs in the next 2 innings to put the Yankees in a hole.
- A Curtis Granderson leadoff triple and a Robinson Cano RBI groundout got CC 1 run back in the 4th, which he promptly gave back to Boston in the bottom half after putting 2 runners on, getting a double play, then giving up a 2-out hit to Shane Victorino on a hanging slider. More of the same from CC: inconsistent fastball location, missing badly in the strike zone, and no good putaway pitches. Didn't help that he had J.R. Murphy making his first career start behind the plate.
- Joe got CC through 6 with another run against and pulled the plug. Lester continued to handle the Yankee lineup with little difficulty through 7, and they were down to their final 6 outs with a 5-1 deficit.
- 1 more hitless inning against Lester and then a final one against lefty Franklin Morales. A painfully quiet day from the lineup hurt the Yankees. Tough to score when your leadoff man and cleanup hitter are both missing.
- C-Grand: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 R, 1 LOB. The only real offense the team had. Literally.
- CC: 6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. There's nothing good to take from CC's start. Nothing he did looked good, he gave up too many hits and too many walks, and a really good lineup did what it should do against a really bad pitcher. That's what Sabathia is these days and it's what he's been for the entire second half of the season. He really needs to break everything down and start from scratch after this season. No way he survives the remainder of his contract trying to pitch this way.
- Rest of the Lineup: 1-26, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K. Only other hit was a Brendan Ryan single. Yes, Brendan Ryan. I can understand having Gardner and Soriano out leaving the lineup severely weakened, but you can't get 1 hit from the worst hitter in your lineup as your only other hit in a game and expect to win.
If the Red Sox didn't strike a fatal blow to the Yankees' playoff chances today, they will with another win tonight. Ivan Nova and his iffy triceps takes the ball against Clay Buchholz in the series finale. Live blog will start sometime before