DETROIT (WFAN/AP) — CC Sabathia’s wild — or was it? — night has the Yankees on the brink of elimination.
Sabathia matched his playoff high with six walks in the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday night that put New York in a 2-1 hole in the best-of-five AL division series.
“I put us in a bad spot,” Sabathia said somberly. “The next time I get the ball, I’ll try to go out and try to help us win.”
That might not be until next year, perhaps due in part to home plate umpire Gerry Davis.
“I actually thought he made a lot of good pitches tonight and I thought the zone was a small zone,” manager Joe Girardi said. “No disrespect to anyone, but that’s what I thought.”
The big lefty didn’t take the loss — Rafael Soriano did after giving up a tiebreaking homer to Delmon Young in the seventh — but the $161 million ace struggled to get the ball over the plate.
He lasted just 5 1-3 innings and issued six walks — one intentional — while allowing seven hits and four runs. He had three strikeouts and threw one wild pitch.
“You throw some borderline pitches and you don’t get them, it makes the innings tougher,” Girardi said. “Sometimes you don’t get outs that you should maybe get outs.”
“I felt like he was a little bit tight, especially on the outside part of the plate to right-handers,” said catcher Russell Martin. “He stayed consistent and kept the zone the same, so if we weren’t getting that pitch, there was nothing we could do.”
Sabathia, though, refused to make excuses about the way Davis called the game.
“I’ve never been one to look at who’s calling balls and strikes,” Sabathia said. “It’s up to me to get guys out.”
“There’s always going to be discrepancies about the strike zone in the playoffs,” said Tigers catcher Alex Avila. “I thought Gerry was very consistent both ways. There’s always going to be calls that you question, because in the heat of the moment, you want it.”
The last time Sabathia, who can opt out of his contract after this season, was that wild in the playoffs was Oct. 4, 2007, when he was pitching for the Cleveland Indians against the Yankees.
Sabathia’s control was so out of whack that he even struggled to connect with Martin on one of his intentional-walk tosses.
“I just couldn’t make pitches when I needed to,” he said.
The Yankees were planning on their ace pitching Game 1 and Game 4, if necessary, but rain suspended his first start after 1½ innings.
Plan B puts A.J. Burnett on the mound Tuesday. And no one rooting for New York is excited about that.
Burnett signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract during the Yankees’ blockbuster offseason in which they spent $423.5 million two years ago to add him, Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.
The right-hander hasn’t lived up to his end of the bargain, but he has a chance to provide an instant dividend if he can help the Yankees avoid getting eliminated in the Motor City.
“I’m not going to go out and try to prove anything,” Burnett said. “I’m going to go out and try to win a ballgame.”
What did you think of the ump’s strike zone? Sound off in the comments below…
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