Yankees finish first half with another struggle from Sabathia
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 15- If the New York Yankees have any chance for a post season in October they need a strong and better second half from their ace CC Sabathia. His misfortunes of a first half continued to go sour on Sunday afternoon allowing eight runs to the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium.
New York closed the first half of their season in the Bronx with a 10-4 loss. It was the worst outing for Sabathia, (9-8) this season. His 4.0 innings tied for the fewest innings pitched in 20 starts, though of the season high 8-runs allowed only three were earned because of the sandlot like plays his defense caused.
And again the home run ball was a culprit. A three-run shot from Aaron Hicks to left in the third inning gave the Twins a 5-0 lead. However, Sabathia once again did not have it, and neither did the Yankees as they head into the all-star break with a 51-44 mark, sitting fourth in the American League east behind first place Boston, Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
Last year going into the Break, New York was 52-33.
The home run to Hicks was the 21st given up by Sabathia which tied his mark of last year. By all means, this final start going into the break is not what Sabathia expects to do when he gets on the mound again up in Boston next Sunday against the first place Red Sox. That game will be the final of a three-game series for the Yankees, theifirst one after the break.
“Part of the game, frustrating,” commented Sabathia. The outing marked the second most runs allowed he has allowed in a start since joining the Yankees in the 2009 season.
Sabathia was not helped by a shady Yankees defense. In the fourth inning, Minnesota scored three more runs led by an error from Lyle Overbay at first base. In total, the Yankees made two errors, but there could have been more charged that went for hits.
“I need to be better,” said Sabathia. He lost for the eighth time this season tying a career high in losses prior to the all-star break when he was 6-8 with Cleveland in the 2008 season.
The pitch to Hicks was a changeup over the plate. Sabathia said he was looking forward to the break and will work on some adjustments with pitching Coach Larry Rothchild.
When asked about the disappointing first half, he said, "No year is the same. Still have to work harder to do better. I am not pitching very well and look forward to the break and pitching better in the second half. Everyone in here knows we have to do better.”
Everyone, including Sabathia in the Yankees clubhouse realize, despite the extensive injuries, that they have to do better. Boston, with the best record in the American League shows no signs of a collapse, Tampa Bay ended the first half on a streak and Baltimore is keeping pace, second to the Red Sox in the Al East division.
The Yankees may or may not get Derek Jeter back after the break. He was not at the stadium again Sunday recuperating from a stomach virus. More so, Jeter may need more time or hit the disabled list again with an injured right quad.
Alex Rodriguez is continuing his rehab stint, now at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes/Barre. And barring any complications from a possible suspension by Major League Baseball, for his latest steroid exploits, the Yankees could see A-Rod back in the lineup in the Boston series.
Girardi said it is too early to decide the situation with Jeter and he will not comment about the status of Rodriguez. The Yankees went 9-5 over their last 14 games heading into the break and swept the Twins last weekend in Minnesota. They went 3-4 against the Royals and Twins on this home stand.
However, their goal, if they are to make it to October is to win series, and they failed to do that against the Twins, one of the worse teams in the American League.
“Not what you want,” said manager Joe Girardi about his team going into the break losing two straight to the Twins. “You want to play well going into the break. You are going to have these games and can’t let it affect you Friday.”
Friday night the Yankees resume the second half up in Boston. The games are significant, and perhaps four days of rest and recuperation is what the team needs to keep pace. They also hope 15 players, and a total of 18 stints on the disabled list becomes a thing of the past in the second half.
As Girardi said, when asked about the dismal first half, “Not what we wanted. You have to move on.” Meaning, the Yankees will have to take this first half as something that can’t be on their mind Friday.
“I don’t think anyone should be satisfied where we’re at,” said Giaradi.
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