CC Sabathia became the last man in, beating out Ivan Nova at the end of spring training to become the Yankees’ fifth starter.
So here was the former ace Saturday at Yankee Stadium, becoming the 17th pitcher to reach 200 starts with the Yankees. Dating to 1900, he is the 10th pitcher to make at least 200 starts for more than one team (Yankees and Indians).
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“I’ve just been lucky, blessed to be able to play this game for a long time. Hopefully I can get 200 more,” Sabathia said with a laugh after the game.
There wasn’t much else to laugh about. This didn’t go as well as his first start in Detroit. And the 35-year-old lefty could’ve hit another milestone — 3,000 innings — by pitching 51⁄3, but he fell two outs short. The Mariners knocked out Sabathia with a three-run, five-hit fifth as the Yankees fell to 4-6 with a 3-2 loss to Seattle.
“He threw good enough to win,” Joe Girardi said.
This day marked the seventh anniversary of the first regular-season game at the new Stadium. Sabathia also started that game, but he’s a different type of pitcher now.
When it came to mph, Sabathia was mostly in the 70s and 80s in this game, but he followed up his first outing — a three-run, six-inning victory the previous Saturday — with four innings of no-run, two-hit, one-walk work.
He also fanned five to extend his career total to 2,582, passing Bob Feller for 26th on the all-time strikeout list. And he owned a 1-0 lead over Felix Hernandez.
“CC was pretty dominant in the first couple,” catcher Austin Romine said. “It was rolling pretty well. I thought he had pretty good stuff.”
Then it started rolling the other way in a hurry.
Leonys Martin led off the fifth by launching a 77-mph, 1-and-2 slider into the right-centerfield bleachers — a ball that was so well-hit that rightfielder Carlos Beltran barely moved.
“I’ve just got to make a better pitch with two strikes and try to get some outs, some bad swings,” Sabathia said.
With two outs and Ketel Marte on the move at first, Robinson Cano ripped a fastball into center. Jacoby Ellsbury hesitated with the ball for a moment, later saying he had to “double-clutch” at it, and Marte was able to score on the single. Nelson Cruz then ripped an RBI double down the leftfield line for a 3-1 lead.
“Just not making pitches,” Sabathia said. “I got in favorable counts. I just couldn’t make that last pitch.”
He threw 95 pitches across those 4 2⁄3 before Girardi came out to get him. It was the seventh time in 10 games that the Yankees’ starter failed to go at least six innings and the first time a starter failed to last five.
“They just swung the bats well that inning, a couple of hard-hit balls,” Mark Teixeira said. “Give them credit. They got the hits when they needed to.”
Unlike the Yankees. They went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position for the second straight game and are 3-for-46 in the last five.
“It catches you off guard,” Sabathia said. “This is a good lineup . . . You have those ups and downs, and hopefully we come out of it pretty soon.”