Sabathia, Pitching Rotten as Yanks Drop Opener 10-5

Sabathia struggled from the outset, failing to get through the fifth inning as the Yanks struggled and failed to catch up to the Orioles, losing 10-5 in Camden Yards.  Sabathia only went 4 1/3, allowing 8 hits, 6 runs earned, walking 5 and striking out none on 96 pitches/50 strikes.  It was a horrible, laborious outing in which Sabathia had one 1-2-3 inning–the second.  Honestly, he looked tense from the beginning, overthrowing pitches and consistently failing to locate his fastball all day.  He threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 25 batters he faced, a bad recipe.  Walking five and failing to strike out a batter deserves a prolonged stint with Jorge and pitching coach Dave Eiland.  I feel for Sabathia, but he was clearly pressing and looked off the whole time.  He also probably should have been pulled earlier, even during the fourth which he escaped with an inning-ending DP. I’m sure Girardi didn’t want to deflate his confidence, but Sabathia just didn’t have it today, period.

The offense struggled against Jeremy Guthrie, as they do fairly often, but they got to him in the sixth to cut a big lead to 6-3.  Matsui’s two-run homer in the seventh made it 6-5, and a huge, dramatic comeback seemed within reach.  But Nady’s DP ball, part of a miserable day for him and after Jorge walked and Cano singled in a terrific at-bat, ended a big chance to tie the game, as did stranding Pena at third in the eighth after he pinch-ran for Swisher, who led off with a double.

Coke fanned Scott but allowed a double to right from Zaun, Izturis of all people homered to left to make it 8-5, and it only got worse.  Bruney entered and, after getting Roberts to ground out, allowed a two-out, nine-pitch walk to Jones after he was behind 0-2, Markakis singled, Bruney’s wild pitch moved them to second and third, Mora walked to load the bases, and Huff doubled off Marte to make it 10-5, and there it went.

But despite the lousy pitching, and it was really lousy, the Yanks had their chances. New York got the lead-off batters on base in the first and second but failed to score them.  They pushed across a run in the third when Brett the Jet singled and Jeter’s timely single to short as Gardner ran moved him to third.  JD’s sac fly made it 1-0 Yanks, but Teixeira, who was 0-4, tapped out, and Matsui flew out to minimize the threat.  After JD tripled and Teixeira with two outs in the fifth, Matsui weakly popped out to end the threat.

But the real killer was in the sixth. After falling behind 6-1, Jorge led off with a homer, Cano singled, and Nady’s ground-rule double allowed Cano to score, a rare if beneficial judgment call for the Yanks, 6-3 with no outs.  But Ransom (0-3) fanned, Gardner had a horrible at-bat, blooping out to left on the first pitch.  But Jeter singled, with Izturis snagging the ball to prevent the run.  But Thomson and Nady failed to recognize it, and Nady was caught off third for the final out, keeping the game 6-3 when circumstances dictated that it should have been closer.  Matsui then blasted a terrific homer to right center, a fastball on the outer half from Yanks’ punching bag Chris Ray, to close it to 6-5 in the seventh but it would get no tighter.  Jorge walked and Cano singled to mount the threat, but Nady’s DP ball ended the seventh.  Then, in the top of the eighth, Swisher led off with a pinch-hit double and moved to third on Gardner’s sac bunt, but Jeter’s ground out left Pena the pinch-runner at third and, after JD walked, Teixiera grounded out to end the threat.

Jorge was 1-3 with his first homer of the year, and Matsui 1-5 with his two-run shot to start the season.  Jeter was 3-5, JD 2-3 with a run and RBI, Cano was 1-3 with 2 walks, Brett the Jet singled and made a great throw home for a DP, and Swisher came through with a pinch-hit double in the eighth. But Teixeira was as uptight as Sabathia, going 0-4 and struggling to make solid contact at the plate all day. Ransom was 0-3 and booted two plays in the field.  Although the Yanks had 11 hits and 6 walks, they stranded 11, a sure-fire recipe for failure.  By my count, the Yanks were 1-10 with RISP.  On offense, it boils down to situational hitting, and the Yanks utterly failed in the department today.

Better pitching and situational hitting Wednesday, guys.  Ace #2 Chien-Ming Wang goes Wednesday against Koji Uehara from Japan, 7:05 ET.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by the Digital Living Room.  Despite the loss, it was fun.  Things will brighten up from here.

[Edit: According to Pete Abraham, Rob Thomson was waving Nady around third on Jeter’s single that Izturis knocked down.  By the time Thomson saw that Izturis knocked down the ball, he put up the stop sign too late for Nady.  It also seems that there was not fan interference on Izturis’s homer, which JD jumped to try to grab as the ball hit a fan.  I still have not seen the video, but Sterling said during the game that, by his viewing, the ball was in the crowd and not the field of play, eliminating fan interference as a possible call.  Neither Girardi nor Damon were too exercised about this, so it was probably the right call.  Had I been watching and not listening as I made dinner and cleaned things up, I could have given an account based on eyesight on both plays.]

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] not going to go on and on about the game. I like how Jason broke down the game and analyzed what happened. But I will share our perspective as we were actually […]

  2. Missed opportunities + mediocre pitching = a loss. I thought they’d mount a comeback after Posada’s HR, but the relievers were just terrible (except Albaladejo). Eleven runners left on base? Come on!

  3. great recap Jas–nobody does it better!

    jane–i loved your piece in the Times the other day–

  4. perhaps it technically wasn’t “fan interference” but 2 fans did interfere…if that makes any sense…

  5. oh and about nady—he might have been given the stop sign too late by thompson, but lets face it. he just stopped dead in his tracks on the field. mora had to run to tag him at least 10 feet . he did absolutely nothing to avoid the tag. just quit on the field. i hate that. could he have tried a run down between zaun and mora… jeez

  6. The game was infuriating but it was only one game. Bad games happen. Hopefully Wang and Burnett will do their thing and shut down the Os. Winning the series in Baltimore will make everyone forget about Opening Day.

  7. good point wiz—

  8. i think i fixed my problems…but lost all the comments yet again…

    still good news all in all

  9. It was fun indeed, despite the disappointment on the field. I hope Chein-Ming doesn’t suffer from the jitters today too. I’m planning on hosting an in-gamer for tonight’s game using the Cover it Live software.. I hope you can stop by J =)

  10. i’ll stop by V!! i don’t think Wang will be nervous. he seems impervious to that

  11. Thanks, Mike and the 3G gang.

    As bad as the situational hitting was Jane, the pitching was even worse.

    That Nady just stopped by news to me, Mike. I hadn’t actually seen the play but listened to it.

    No question, Wiz–one game, rendering the trolling by the so-called Orioles fan on the previous thread even more hilarious. I like Wang and Burnett’s chances, but don’t want Uehara mystifying the Yanks as a new, strange pitcher to them. That happens too much.

    V, I’ll be there for at least some of the game before working tonight.

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