LADY AT THE BAT: CC Sabathia Shelled Again As Yankees Drop Series to Boston

Monday, July 22, 2013

CC Sabathia Shelled Again As Yankees Drop Series to Boston

Maybe this is just who CC Sabathia is now. A pitcher with a low 90s fastball, good for quality starts (6 IP, 3 ERs) with a smattering of gems and stinkers thrown in. After another off game, this time giving up 7 ER, it's beginning to look like that's the case. Sabathia's ERA is above 4.00 and steadily rising, and his fastball average is barely above 90 mph and he has shown a Phil Hughes-like inability to put away hitters with two strikes.

There has been ample speculation about the causes for Sabathia's struggles. Early in the season, it was the fact that he was working his way back from surgery and his velocity would come back. Then everyone, from Girardi to Cashman to Sabathia himself acknowledged that his velocity might never come back but that he would learn to work with it. On the Sunday night telecast on ESPN, John Kruk even speculated that it might be due to Sabathia's noticeable weight loss.

Whatever the reason, it's clear that the Sabathia pitching now is nothing like the pitcher who lead the Yankees to the 2009 World Series or even the one who threw a complete game against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS. Maybe, like so many other things around the Yankees, this is just a transition year for Sabathia.

It's Mariano Rivera's last year, Derek Jeter has played exactly one game and even that wasn't in the field, Robinson Cano, Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are free agents and two guys added in the last two weeks of spring training, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay, have the fourth and fifth most at-bats on the team. It's virtually assured that the Yankees will look vastly different in 2014.

The Yankees are only 3.0 games out from a Wild Card spot so it's too early to give up playoff aspirations yet but, as the Yankees lose series after series, this year will start to look more and more like a lost one. It is a painful but, I believe, rare bad season for the Bronx Bombers with the hope that they will come out of it wiser and stronger and ready for next year.

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