April 22, 2013
C. C. Sabathia has not pitched very well against the Tampa Bay Rays since he joined the Yankees in 2009. He has won just 3 of his 19 starts against them in that period, and he has been even less successful here at Tropicana Field.
The Rays’ Ryan Roberts after his second homer off the Yankees’ C. C. Sabathia on Monday.
Perhaps with that in mind, Sabathia took a different approach to the mound for his fifth start of the season. He told himself to be more relaxed, to have a more fluid and easy approach, and he focused on his pitching mechanics. It was a failed experiment.
Sabathia gave up four runs in the first inning, and five over all, before stabilizing himself in the third inning. By then, it was too late. The Rays, behind a wonderful performance by their starting pitcher, Matt Moore, cruised to a 5-1 victory and sent the Yankees to consecutive defeats for the first time since they lost two games in Detroit on April 5-6.
After the game, Sabathia verbally kicked himself for trying to adopt the new approach, which he said sapped him of his signature aggressiveness. What, exactly, was he trying to do?
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said as he shook his head with a mix of disgust and disbelief.
The warning signs came early, as soon as the second batter faced him. Ryan Roberts, the Rays’ No. 2 hitter, who had not hit a home run all season, fell behind, 0-2, and under normal circumstances few would have given him much of a chance to get a hit. But probability and certainty are not the same thing, and Roberts sent the next pitch, a flat slider, into the left-field stands.
As if to reinforce the point, Roberts walloped a home run in his next at-bat, this time hitting an 89-mile-per-hour fastball that seemed to bisect the plate. Roberts hit only six home runs in each of the last two seasons. But on this strange night, he amassed one third of that season total in his first two at-bats against one of the game’s superior pitchers.
“The thing about him is that he’s not over-boogieing,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s staying within his swing pretty well.”
Yunel Escobar was not over-boogieing, either. He also homered in the first inning, crushing a fastball to right after Sean Rodriguez had tripled home Evan Longoria, and the Rays were ahead by 4-0. Sabathia’s tone when he described his pitch to Escobar was saturated with disgust.
“Fastball right down the middle,” he said.
Eventually, he abandoned the new fluid, easy-breezy approach and started hammering the right-handed hitters inside with his more typical aggressive approach, and that resulted in four scoreless innings to end his night on a slightly positive tone. His final pitching line included five runs and seven hits over seven innings, and he struck out eight as his record dropped to 3-2.
“He found a way to make an adjustment and give us seven innings,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought he did an amazing job of that.”
Sabathia, who had arthroscopic surgery in the off-season, has been pitching with diminished velocity all season, but that did not seem to be the problem Monday. He touched 92 m.p.h. on the radar gun, which was a tick higher than in his previous starts, and most of his fastballs were clocked at 90 or 91, the same velocity with which he won his previous three starts.
It was a 90 m.p.h. fastball that Escobar hit into a double play in the sixth, and a 90 m.p.h. high fastball that struck out Shelley Duncan to end that inning. The issue early on was his location, which he attributed to his new approach and trying to focus on his mechanics, instead of just letting the ball go.
The Yankees struggled against Moore, who did not allow a hit until Robinson Cano’s solo home run with one out in the fourth. Moore allowed only two hits — Cano also had an infield single — and struck out nine. He threw a career-high 117 pitches in his eight innings.
“We’ve got to make him pitch a little,” Francisco Cervelli said. “We were a little bit anxious.”
CC Sabathia was born on July 21st, 1980 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.C._Sabathia
July 21st, 1980
7 + 21 +1+9+8+0 = 46 = his life lesson = Making history.
July 21st, 1980
7 + 21 +2+0+1+2 = 33 = his personal year (from July 21st, 2012 to July 20th, 2013) = Be fierce.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
33 11212891 31
his path of destiny = 31 = Competitive. Struggling. Rising to the challenge. Striving to be #1.
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