Michael Pineda set the bar for starters pretty damn high with his performance on Sunday afternoon, and while nobody was expecting that or anything like it from CC Sabathia last night, it would have been nice to see him put a decent start together. Emotions are starting to run a little bit higher in Yankeeland relative to CC's struggles and inability to successfully adapt to life as a different pitcher. Another bad start on the heels of Pineda's dominance would only serve to fuel those flames.
So naturally CC came out, walked the first 2 batters of the 1st inning, and gave up what would have been a 2-run double to Logan Forsythe to center field. The only thing that saved him was Steven Souza forgetting how to run the bases and getting thrown out at home, which limited the scoring to 1. CC got a strikeout to end the threat, but it wasn't the kind of start that inspired confidence.
Luckily for him, the Yankee lineup was locked in on Tampa Bay starter Alex Colome from the jump. Alex Rodriguez started things off with a MONSTER home run to left field in the top of the 1st to get the Yanks on the board, and that was just the beginning. They touched Colome up for 3 more runs in the 4th on a pair of singles and a Chase Headley 3-run homer with 2 outs to make it 4-1, tacked on another with a Carlos Beltran solo shot in the 5th, and turned the game into a rout with another 2-out, 3-run jack off the bat of Brett Gardner in the 6th. The Yankee hitters were squaring Colome up and hitting rockets all over the field all night, and cashing in big with the long ball. Too many damn homers indeed.
And a funny thing to happened to CC once he got all this run support. He settled down and pitched a damn good game. After the shaky 1st, CC went the next 10 batters in order without allowing a baserunner, the one he did allow quickly being erased by an inning-ending double play. Tampa only managed 2 hits off him through the 6th and were clearly trying to stick with a patient approach to get into favorable counts even though CC's command was sharp. He was locating his fastball on the corners and got 5 of his 9 strikeouts looking. He tired in the 7th and gave up some garbage runs on back-to-back homers by Forsythe and Joey Butler, but CC was very good in this start.
The Yankee scoring didn't end when Colome left the game. They turned a Mark Teixeira double and Brian McCann single into another run in the 7th on a sac fly by Headley, and Teix got into the home run fun and added to his team lead with a 2-run shot in the top of the 9th, his 11th of the year.
The big lead meant Joe could go to the less-trusted members of his bullpen and that's exactly what he did. David Carpenter got the call for the 8th and stumbled his way through it, hitting the leadoff batter, throwing away a pickoff attempt, and giving up a 2-out single to Forsythe to give Tampa a cheap run. The recently recalled Branden Pinder was saddled with the 9th and he worked it 1-2-3 with a strikeout. That was all she wrote. A good night all around and the 18th win in the last 24 games.
- So many offensive contributors last night. Everybody in the lineup had at least 1 hit except for Didi Gregorius, 4 guys had at least 2, 7 different players scored a run, and 5 drove in at least 1.
- Biggest offensive star of the night was Teix. He went 4-5 with the double, homer, 3 R, and 2 RBI. He raised his season line to .239/.353/.615 and he's now driven in 27 runs, tied for 2nd most in the AL.
- Give a shoutout to Headley too. 2-4, 4 RBI. He's been painfully unproductive with the bat for the last few weeks. It'd be nice to see him get in on the offensive party more regularly.
- CC's night was much better than his final line indicates. 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K really doesn't tell the whole story. He didn't walk a batter after the 1st, he gave up 2 dinky hits from the 2nd-6th, and he finally showed that he could locate and live on the corners with his fastballs. Still striking plenty of guys out too.
- Keep an eye on Pinder while he's up here again. He's going to get a longer chance to show his stuff and he could earn himself a little piece of that Joe Girardi trust pie with some strong showings. He isn't as highly touted as some other Triple-A relief prospects, but his stuff is legit.
- Carlos Beltran Glue Factory Watch: 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 K. He's up to .219/.265/.381 and Joe hit him 2nd last night, so he clearly still has plenty of faith. Cancel the factory watch for now.
- How about Logan Forsythe becoming the new Yankee killer this year? He's 10-24 against them this season with 2 HR, 5 RBI, and a 1.250 OPS.