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Sunday, July 14, 2013
Sunday caps CC's rough first half

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia described his performance in the first half as "up and down."

Sunday's start would certainly file under the latter category.

Sabathia had a miserable outing to end the first half, allowing eight runs (three earned) in four innings in the Yankees' sloppy 10-4 loss to the Twins on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia was chased after four innings.
By losing his eighth game, Sabathia has already matched the most losses he's suffered as a Yankee. Sabathia also lost eight games in 2009 and 2011.

"I felt I did some good things but I definitely have some stuff to work on," Sabathia said of his first 20 starts. "I'm going to work with Larry [Rothschild] and be ready for the second half."

It's been a difficult season thus far for Sabathia, who hasn't been his normal dominant self and has seen his velocity dip. He's 9-8 with a 4.07 ERA, and that ERA would easily exceed his previous Yankee high of 3.38, recorded last year.

On Sunday, Sabathia posted a perfect first inning, but the rest of the afternoon was a nightmare. He gave up multiple runs in each of the next three frames before getting pulled after 93 pitches. The four-inning effort is the second shortest start he's had as a Yankee that wasn't due to a rain delay or an injury.

"I feel like my arm angle is too low," Sabathia said. "Really struggled with pretty much everything. Not being able to throw my fastball, they were jumping on it early. Not having my secondary pitches hurt me."

Sabathia didn't get any help from his teammates on Sunday as the Yankees gave the Twins a handful of extra outs, and Minnesota capitalized.

In the third, with the Yankees down 2-0, what appeared to be a catchable ball dropped in between Vernon Wells and Robinson Cano. Wells said afterward he wasn't able to get to the ball and there was no confusion between him and Cano.

With two outs in the inning, Eduardo Nunez had a throwing error, which he said was due to rushing the throw. Aaron Hicks followed by crushing an 85-mph changeup into the left-field seats for a three-run homer.

In the fourth, Lyle Overbay booted a grounder as the Twins plated three that frame to take a commanding 8-1 lead. The eight runs Sabathia allowed are the second-most he's surrendered since joining the Yankees in 2009.

"It's part of the game," Sabathia said of the errors. "Need to make better pitches to help these guys out. They bail me out of situations all the time. Just frustrating to not be able to help these guys out when we do make mistakes."

As Sabathia has toiled through the first half, Yankees manager Joe Girardi acknowledged Sunday that it's a little surprising that the Yankees ace hasn't gotten on one of his usual hot streaks. Sabathia is known as a second-half pitcher, but that doesn't make the first half any easier to swallow for the lefty.

"It's terrible," Sabathia said of his ERA. "I'm not pitching very well. I look forward to the break and pitching better in the second half."