Command off as CC surrenders three homers

Sabathia remains winless this season after getting tagged by Mets

Command off as CC surrenders three homers

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia's final pitch of the afternoon landed in center field for the third knock of Juan Lagares' four-hit game, and the big left-hander rolled that dirty ball out of play. Out of the dugout popped manager Joe Girardi, who raised his right arm and asked for the new one.

As Sabathia walked slowly off the field, soon to be tagged with his fourth loss of the season in the Mets' 8-2 victory over the Yankees on Saturday, the pro-Yankees contingent of the paying crowd was decidedly anti-CC. Their displeasure registered no surprise.

"No, not at all," Sabathia said. "You pitch bad, you get booed."

The Yankees have picked out the positives in Sabathia's first three starts, despite their accompanying losing decisions, but there was little sunshine to find between the lines of Saturday's seven-run, nine-hit clunker.

Manager Joe Girardi said that Sabathia's location was the biggest problem, leading to the Mets' four-run fourth inning, which included a play in which Sabathia was unable to cover first base on a Curtis Granderson infield single.

"I'm not going to make too much of one start," Girardi said. "I think he's done a good job of getting a lot of ground balls and strikeouts and keeping the ball in the ballpark before today. Today he struggled, though, for whatever reason."

Sabathia had allowed just one homer in his first 20 2/3 innings, accompanying a rate of 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings and a 61.4 percent ground ball rate (well above his career rate of 45.5 percent), but served up three homers to the Mets on Saturday.

Lucas Duda cleared the right-field wall in the first, Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run shot in the fourth for his first big league homer and Eric Campbell clubbed a solo blast in the sixth.

"I think today it was just missing spots. Everything was up," Sabathia said. "The cutter, I couldn't get it down where I wanted to get it. It was a tough day. The changeup was cutting a couple of times. I couldn't really find a rhythm."

Having not registered a victory in more than a year -- his last came on April 24, 2014 -- this six-start losing streak marks the longest of Sabathia's career, despite a commanding April 20 start against a high-powered Tigers lineup in Detroit.

"I think sometimes records can be misleading," Alex Rodriguez said. "He could easily be 2-2. To throw the way he threw against Detroit, probably one of the best offensive lineups in the American League, was a great test and barometer for him. Today he makes a pitch here and there and gets out of that inning."

"We're not hitting for him, so the record is irrelevant," catcher Brian McCann said. "We haven't swung the bats well when he has started. I think out of four starts, I think he's been really good."

The inability to make big two-strike pitches was what seemed to grate at Sabathia most, as he said he was unable to hit his spots and finish pitches. McCann said that the Yankees continue to be encouraged by Sabathia's health and arm speed; now, they'd just like the results to match that enthusiasm.

"If you were to look at the four starts, I think three of them, he's thrown the ball pretty good," Girardi said. "Today, he did not. He made mistakes. He was up in the zone. So I'm going to bet on the guy in the three other starts. That's the guy that I'm betting on."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.