Looking for answers as to why CC Sabathia can't seem to pitch well at Yankee Stadium anymore? You're not alone. "It's hard to put your finger on it," Joe Girardi said after Sabathia lasted only 21/3 innings in Saturday's 15-4 loss to the Rangers.
He allowed six runs and seven hits in falling to 0-6 with a 9.42 ERA in his last six starts at the Stadium. He last won at home on Sept. 20, 2013.
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"When you think about Yankee Stadium, you think it favors lefthanders over righthanders, so it's really hard to put your finger on it," Girardi said. "I don't really think there's anything to it. It's happened. He had a tough start today and he needs to bounce back."
Sabathia heard plenty of boos as he left the mound after allowing a two-run single by Elvis Andrus that made it 5-0 in the Rangers' 10-run third. "You don't pitch well, you get booed," he said. "That's just a part of it."
After an awful April, he appeared to have gotten back on track this month. He entered the game 2-5 with a 4.67 ERA but was 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA in four May starts after going 0-4, 5.96 in five April outings. This was an obvious setback.
"It's a long season. It's a grind," Sabathia said of the difficult period the Yankees find themselves in, having lost five straight and nine of 10. "There's ups and downs. Obviously, this is one of the down parts of our season, but hopefully we can look on this a month from now and say this is what turned our season around."
Lindgren headed up
Branden Pinder allowed two runs in three innings. Because he is not stretched out to go much more than that (he threw 48 pitches) and not wanting to burn another bullpen arm, Girardi went to first baseman Garrett Jones to get the final two outs in the ninth.
In need of another reliever, the Yankees promoted lefthander Jacob Lindgren, 22, their first pick in last year's June draft, from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Lindgren, 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 10 walks in 22 innings, was called off the field by Scranton manager Dave Miley shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday. Scranton had a 7:05 p.m. home game.
"Slider is legit," one minor- league scout said of what is considered his best pitch. "Definitely major league-ready." The Yankees soon will see regarding the rest of his arsenal.
Jones' mound debut
Jones, making his big-league pitching debut, walked a batter and hit another but did not allow a hit or a run in two-thirds of an inning. "I was a little nervous going out there," said Jones, 33, who last pitched in high school. "Just wanted to throw the ball over the plate. Not trying to blow anyone away."
Jones, whose fastball reached 80 mph -- once -- was happiest with a slow curve he got Shin-Soo Choo to ground softly to first for the second out of the ninth. "That was pretty nasty," Jones said with a smile. "I felt like that was a good pitch."
Whitley not looking back
Chase Whitley made his first comments since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last Tuesday. He pitched with discomfort in the elbow for several starts leading up to his May 14 outing but did not say anything. Because it didn't become painful until that start, Whitley had no regrets about how he handled it. "If you say something every time you're in pain," he said, "you'll probably never pitch."
Extra basesGirardi said the Yankees are "hoping" to get Chris Martin (elbow tendinitis) in a rehab game this week . . . Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus threw out the ceremonial first pitch . . . Carlos Beltran's sixth-inning homer gave him three this season and extended his hitting streak to 13 games . . . As part of a ceremony before Sunday night's 8:05 game against the Rangers, the Yankees will honor Bernie Williams by unveiling a Monument Park plaque recognizing his career. His No. 51 will be retired by the organization.