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Monday, April 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rays 5, Yankees 1

By Wallace Matthews



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The first meeting of the season between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays turned out to be a mismatch, as did the matchup of the Yankees ace, CC Sabathia, and young Matt Moore, the Rays' No. 2. As soon as Sean Rodriguez tripled in the Rays' second run of the night five batters into the game, Moore had all he needed and the Yankees had more than they could overcome. The Rays wound up with a 5-1 win that raised some disturbing questions about the Yankees for the future.

What it means: That the concerns about Sabathia aren't about to just go away. CC's velocity was better tonight -- see below -- but his command was not. The result? A very hittable seven-inning, seven-hit, five-run performance including three home runs. Ugly.

Trop flop: Sabathia's loss was not only his first after three straight wins, it was also his sixth in nine career decisions at Tropicana Field, where he has a 4.07 ERA. Since he joined them in 2009, the Yankees have won just once in nine Sabathia starts here.

Velocity OK: After three straight starts in which his fastball loitered between 88 and 90 mph, Sabathia's fastball hit 92 mph a couple of times tonight.

Everything else? Not so good: Sabathia hung a curve to Ryan Roberts in the first inning. Home run. He left a mediocre fastball over the plate to Sean Rodriguez. Triple. He left a sinker up to Yunel Escobar. Home run. And he fed another fatball, er, fastball to Roberts in the third. Another home run. Sabathia had allowed just one home run in his first 28 innings this season but gave up three in the first three innings Monday.

Hold the sombrero: Vernon Wells struck out in his first three at-bats against Moore but avoided the golden hat by lining out against Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth. Wells did make a terrific sliding catch on Ben Zobrist in the third, however.

Ca-No distractions: Before the game, Robinson Cano said the latest allegations regarding the Biogenesis "anti-aging" clinic involving his spokeswoman, Sonia Cruz, would not affect him on the field. Then he went out and crushed a Moore slider a half-mile into the right-field seats with one out in the fourth for the Yankees' first hit of the game. Obviously a man of his word.

Door Matts: The Yankees couldn't get anything going against Moore, the Rays' 23-year-old stud lefty who allowed just two hits, Cano's home run and an infield single by -- you guessed it -- Cano, in eight innings. Moore walked three, struck out nine, threw a career-high 117 pitches and is now 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA.

Ring of Ire: The Yankees were upset when plate umpire Andy Fletcher ruled Shelley Duncan's sixth-inning pop fly, which hit the uppermost catwalk above the field and ricocheted down, where Francisco Cervelli caught it on the fly, which is a dead ball under The Trop ground rules. But given a new life, Duncan struck out on one of CC's best pitches of the night, a 90 mph fastball with some elevation on it.

Magic number: Time of game -- 2:29.

What's coming: We'll see what Sabathia and Joe Girardi have to say about Monday, plus collect a variety of blog items out of the postgame clubhouse.