Sabathia can't hold lead in the 8th
August, 24, 2011
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
"Tonight was totally my fault," Sabathia said. "(It's a) 2-1 game in the eighth inning and we got the lead and it's time for me to shut it down."
While he pitched an otherwise good game, Sabathia ultimately bemoaned giving up the lead in the eighth inning after watching the Yankees fall to the A's in 10 innings Wednesday. Sabathia ended up with a no-decision.
"It's tough," Sabathia said. "Especially when we get the lead, big home run by (Nick) Swisher and you want to go out and shut it down and it didn't happen tonight."
Most nights, the Yankees will take a scenario where Sabathia needs just three outs to get the ball to Mariano Rivera, but on Wednesday, with a 2-1 lead, it all went wrong in the eighth inning for their ace.
It started with a single and a sacrifice bunt, bringing up Scott Sizemore with a man on second and one out. Sizemore had been 2-for-2 against Sabathia in the game and 5-for-9 against the southpaw for his career, but when Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out to talk to Sabathia, he wasn't there to pull Sabathia from the game.
He instead had a short, succinct message.
"Just tell him it's your game, let's go," Girardi said. "Let's get this guy."
Sabathia couldn't. He got ahead 0-2 on Sizemore, who entered the game at .237, but Sizemore crushed the next slider into left field for a double to score Curt Suzuki and tie the game at 2-2.
The lefty left the game after that pitch and shortly after became the pitcher on the hook for a loss when David Robertson allowed Sizemore to score on a single.
Eventually, the Yankees saved Sabathia from his eighth loss on the season by rallying to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a home run by Mark Teixeira. Sabathia gave up seven hits and struck out seven in his 7 1/3 innings.
"I felt great tonight," Sabathia said. "My mechanics were good, I was throwing the ball where I wanted to and just didn't work out today."
Though Sabathia put the loss on himself, one of his teammates quickly came to his defense. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said "it happens" when asked if he was surprised to see Sabathia squander the lead in that situation.
"Guys on the other teams have jobs to do too," Jeter said. "Just because it's CC doesn't mean guys are going to give up and let him get them out. They have an approach. They have a job to do, but CC gave up, what, (three) runs? So come on, he pitched well enough to win."
With the season getting closer to its end, it's usually around this time that Sabathia gets on a roll. In 2009, he went 9-1 over the final two months of the season to guide the Yankees into the playoffs. Last season, he went 8-3 in the two months.
Following Wednesday's no-decision, in which he had been so close to his 18th win of the season, Sabathia is 2-2 to start the final two months.
He might not have been pleased with his eighth-inning performance, but Sabathia saw positives in his outing and is hoping that can turn on the engines and gain some momentum in the final 37 games as the team likely heads into the playoffs.
"I'm not making any predictions but I threw the ball well tonight," Sabathia said. "Hopefully I can get on a good roll and roll that into the playoffs."