Game 35. CC’s struggles continue as Yanks lose, 5-4.

Ok, because of an error by Brendan Ryan, 3 of the 4 runs CC Sabathia gave up last night were unearned.

But there’s no way to whitewash things. CC Sabathia right now is a major problem for the Yankees. The Yanks aren’t paying CC $23MM to pitch like a guy trying to keep his job in the rotation. Let’s face it, the way CC has pitched since the end of the 2012 season, if his name was NOT CC Sabathia, and his paycheck weren’t so high, he might be pulled from the rotation.

CC threw 107 pitches last night in only lasting 5 1/3 innings. He gave up 4 R, 1 ER, and took a ND as the Yanks lost 5-4. But look beyond the name and look at the numbers. 107 pitches in 5 1/3 innings. 3 HR given up. Once Ryan made a two-out error behind him, an inability to escape or limit damage. He is 3-4, 5.28. Baseball Reference has a stat called WPA, which basically stands for Win Probability added by pitcher. In only two of CC’s eight starts this year is that number a positive number, meaning he pitched in a way that normally contributes to a win. CC leads the A.L. in games started. He leads the majors in HR given up. 46/8 equates to about 5 2/3 innings a start. That’s not ace-like, but more of a 4 or 5 starter. Since the end of the 2012 season, he is 17-17, 4.87, ERA+ 83 (17% below league average). Now if, say, Phil Hughes were still a Yankee, and those were HIS numbers, what would happen? Those numbers remind us more of A.J. Burnett’s last two years as a Yankee, when A.J. went 21-26, 5.20, ERA+ 83.

Sad to say, but if CC doesn’t turn it around soon, you may hear the kind of boos that were directed at Hughes and Burnett at the end of their Yankees’ tenures. Probably the only reason he hasn’t heard it yet is because he is CC.

More troublesome is this: CC turns 34 in July. But watching him this year, he appears much older. He has the look of someone who is 39 and is hanging on. The Yanks are paying him $23MM this year. But here is the rub: CC is on the books for $23MM next year, $25MM in 2016 and $25MM in 2017.

There is a $5MM buyout for 2017, but the 2017 salary is guaranteed if he 1) does not end 2016 on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury, 2) does not spend more than 45 days in 2016 on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury or 3) does not make more than six relief appearances in 2016 because of a left shoulder injury. There is nothing voiding 2017’s contract for poor performance. Only if there is an injury. If he is healthy but performing poorly, the Yanks are still on the hook.

So you have $96MM invested in CC for this year through 2017. If he continues to perform like this, it’s a major problem.

The Yanks have to get CC back on track. He may have to become a completely different pitcher, but CC MUST figure it out and get back on track. There is simply too much relying on that.

I’m hoping for him to rebound and rooting for it. I’m not expecting it, however.

CC’s third pitch of the game was hit for a HR. The Yanks took the lead in the third on a triple by Gardner and single by Beltran. In the bottom of the inning came Ryan’s error and the b2b bombs given up by CC for a 4-2 Brewers lead.

The Yanks came back to tie it. Mark Teixiera got HR #6 (347 career) in the sixth, and Soriano singled in the eighth to tie it up.

Good points:

Teixiera’s average is just .253, and I expect him never to hit .280+ again, but he does have 6 HR and 15 RBI in 21 games. He basically missed 10 games b/c of his injury. 21 x 7 is 147. Basically a full season with some days given off for rest. At that pace, Teix would have 42 HR and 105 RBI. The power numbers we were hoping he would come back to after his injury that cost him most of 2013. I’m not saying he will reach 40/100, but he looks like he could be the 30/90 guy we were hoping he would come back as. Now to get McCann going.

Betances (2.00) came into a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth and got out of it with two strikeouts. What a job. He is getting better, gaining confidence, and look at the situation Girardi put him in as Girardi gains more confidence in using him in tight spots.

Aceves (0-1, 1.23) took the tough loss. He gave up a run in two innings of relief.

The loss drops the Yanks to 19-16, 1 1/2 behind Baltimore in the A.L. East. Phelps goes today.

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