From John Harper:
The Yankees have had worse nights during this stretch in which their 10-game lead, not to mention their aura of superiority, has disappeared. But this was surely the most ominous night of them all.I completely agree, and if you're are an honest fan I don't see how you can't. The Yankees need CC to be the ace he's supposed to be and he just hasn't been that guy. The Yankees have now lost 5 of the last 8 games CC has started.
And not because they got jobbed by first base umpire Jerry Meals. Yes, replays showed that Mark Teixeira was easily safe diving into first base to beat a double-play throw on the final play of the game, and, yes, the game should have been tied.
Yet down deep the Yankees have to know even a call like that wasn’t as significant, in terms of where they’re headed, as the inability of CC Sabathia to deliver on a night when they badly needed a gem.
But it wasn’t just that he failed to pitch like an ace. The truth is that from a Yankee perspective, Sabathia was painfully ordinary. And that sure feels ominous.
With a fastball that has clearly lost some explosiveness, Sabathia is vulnerable these days, relying on his changeup and slider more than ever. That makes his margin for error considerably smaller, and so when he made mistakes on Saturday night, the Orioles made him pay dearly.
Three home runs later, the concerns about Sabathia linger. He gave up five runs in 6 1 ⁄ 3 innings, as his ERA rose to 3.56, and he just hasn’t been dominant since dealing with a groin pull and some elbow soreness, injuries that twice landed him on the disabled list.
Even Joe Girardi, who protects his players at all costs, admitted Sabathia hasn’t been the pitcher the Yankees expect him to be.
“He’s struggled a little bit this year,’’ he said. “He hasn’t gotten on the roll we’re used to seeing him get on.’’
And let’s face it, the Yankees aren’t going anywhere if this is all Sabathia has to offer the rest of this season.