With every game that goes by CC Sabathia looks less and less like someone who can be productive for the New York Yankees as their starting pitcher, giving up a huge three-run homer to Grady Sizemore that helped the Boston Red Sox come away with the 4-2 win an even the series at 1-1.
The game began with Alfonso Soriano hitting a home run off of Jon Lester, his second of the season and his 19th since returning to the Yankees last July. Over that timespan, Soriano has hit 19 home runs, more than anyone else in Baseball. He finished the game on 2-for-4 hitting with that solo homer bringing him an RBI (3rd of the season), but he is hitting only .216 so far in 2014. Kelly Johnson added another RBI single in the 7th to score Ichiro Suzuki, but it only brought the Yankees closer, and not enough.
Lester pitched through 6.2 innings, getting hit six times and allowing two runs. Junichi Tazawa came on for him and Edward Mujica came on for the save as the Red Sox allowed just 7 hits on 33 at-bats to the Yankees, getting only four opportunities with runners in scoring positions. They weren’t able to get walks (only two) and both Carlos Beltran and Yangervis Solarte finished with a very disappointing o-for-4.
Sizemore got his second home run of the season in the sixth, making it a three-run score as David Ortiz and Mike Napoli came home with him. Sabathia did strike out nine players in the seven innings he played, but allowed four runs once again, making it at least four runs in each of his first three starts this season (1-2, 6.63 ERA). He is the 2nd Yankee lefty in the last 20 seasons to allow at least 4 runs in each of his first 3 appearances of the season. The other was Sean Henn in 2005.
It has a lot to do with his fastball simply not being the same. His average velocity has dropped from 94mph to 89mph, and the Red Sox are the best in the majors in getting hits off of slow fastballs, going into the game with a .329 batting average. They didn’t hit that well in this game, but the two home runs, including the first, a solo from Jonny Gomes (his first of the season), also coming in the sixth, was enough to put the Yankees below .500 once more, with the two teams tied at 5-6 so far this season.