On Sunday night, C.C. Sabathia tossed another shaky start against the Boston Red Sox, continuing to raise that questions about whether he is still the ace pitcher that he is expected to be.
Not long after Hiroki Kuroda fired seven innings of two-run ball against the Red Sox on Saturday, I wrote a story about how he had become the new ace of the New York Yankees rotation. Even after that, I gave Sabathia a chance to reclaim his place atop of the rotation, but after Sunday’s start, he’s starting to move himself further away from the ace discussion.
Over his last two starts, the lefty has given up 15 runs on 17 hits in only nine innings of work. After giving up eight runs on eight hits in four innings against the Minnesota Twins in his last start before the break andenduring one of the worst starts of his career in pinstripes, C.C. flat out dropped another goose egg on Sunday, giving up seven runs in five plus innings.
He’s struggled with his fastball command to go along with his overall velocity throughout the entire season, and it came back to bite him against Boston. Several times on Sunday night, Sabathia failed to put hitters away after backing them into two-strike counts, which is unusual for him.
And the southpaw knows he’s not pitching well. He’s stated time after time that he’s not happy with the way he’s performing, that he’s not giving himself any excuses and he knows what’s wrong — yet he still continues to pitch poorly.
His ERA for the season is 4.37, almost an entire run higher than his career average. Clearly, 2013 has been a down year for the big lefty. I think that he still has what it takes to be a good pitcher in this league, but he’s no longer the guy that’s going to blow upper-90’s fastballs by batters, and he has to know that.
For C.C., it has to be about commanding his fastball much better, and he needs to figure out how to put away hitters when he sets them up in two-strike counts. He may not be pitching like an ace, but the Yankees are paying him to be one, and he has to be able to adjust.
Right now, it’s time for C.C. to adjust to the new type of pitcher he is if he wants to regain his form and once again shine as the ace of the Yankees.