Joe Girardi questions strike zone

Updated: October 4, 2011, 2:40 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand |

DETROIT -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn't think CC Sabathia's wild outing in Game 3 of the ALDS on Monday had as much to do with Sabathia as it did home plate umpire Gerry Davis' balls and strikes calls.

"I actually thought (Sabathia) made good pitches and I thought the zone was small," Girardi said after the Tigers sent the Yankees to the brink of elimination with a 5-4 victory to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. "No disrespect to anyone, but that's what I thought. That's what I saw."

Sabathia only lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and six walks (one intentional). He needed double plays in each of the first three innings to avoid having the game blown open. In all, Sabathia threw 106 pitches and only 62 were strikes.

Davis would not comment afterward.

"They don't really want us commenting," Davis, referring to top MLB officials, told's Ian O'Connor.

Girardi wouldn't compare Davis' strike zone for Sabathia to Justin Verlander's, saying he only doesn't "necessarily look at Verlander's pitches."

At times, Yankees catcher Russell Martin felt that Sabathia wasn't getting the down and away pitch, which he called Sabathia's "spot"

"I know (Davis) called a strike on my first (at-bat), and it was a little bit away on me," Martin said. "I was wondering where that pitch was all night."

With Sabathia not getting that pitch, Martin later added, "It changes the game a little bit."

Ultimately, Martin didn't think that is why the Yankees' lost the game. Sabathia wouldn't point the finger at Davis, like Girardi did.

"That's baseball," Sabathia said. "That's part of the game. I'm not going to sit here and say this is the umpire's fault. I just didn't make pitches when I needed to."

Girardi first questioned Davis' zone during the game.

"He's thrown a lot of pitches, and I think he's made some good pitches -- some borderline pitches that he hasn't gotten tonight," Girardi said during the middle of fourth inning of TBS' broadcast. "But he's thrown the ball well and to get out of that jam (in the third inning), bases loaded, no outs and to only give up one run ... that's pretty good pitching."

Coming into the game, Sabathia had excelled with Davis behind the plate. Previously, Sabathia was 6-0 with a 2.19 ERA with Davis as his home plate ump.

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for Information from's Ian O'Connor was used in this story.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »


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