Results tagged ‘ Chase Utley ’

CC in comfort zone at Stadium

Think of the old Yankee Stadium and clips of Lefty Gomez or Whitey Ford come to mind. The renovated Stadium provided a showcase for Ron Guidry and Andy Pettitte. And there is little doubt that the left-handed pitcher most associated with the new Stadium is CC Sabathia.

Talk about a comfort zone. Sabathia’s tenure with the Yankees coincided with the opening of the new place in 2009 and has it ever been home to him these past two seasons.

His work Thursday in a 5-0 victory over the Athletics was nothing short of masterful. Oakland puts out a lineup that seems the equivalent of a Triple A team, and that is just the way CC handled the A’s. They managed one hit off him in eight innings, but an even greater measure of his dominance was that Sabathia didn’t allow the A’s to hit a ball out of the infield for 5 1/3 innings covering a stretch of 19 plate appearances.

Landon Powell flied out to left field to end the second inning. The next ball to reach the outfield by an A’s hitter was Coco Crisp’s fly to right for the second out in the eighth. In between, there were eight groundouts (one of which was a double play), three infield pops (two of them foul), four strikeouts, two walks, one hit batter and a player reaching on a throwing error by catcher Jorge Posada after fielding a dribbler in front of the plate.

“That’s as good as it gets,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Sabathia seems to be as good as it gets whenever he pitches at Yankee Stadium. He has not lost in his past 21 starts in the Bronx, matching a streak Ford had during the 1964 and ’65 seasons in the original building. The Yankees are 19-2 in those Sabathia starts. His personal record in those starts is 16-0 with a 2.05 ERA.

CC is 11-0 with a 2.27 ERA at the Stadium this year, the first Yankees pitcher in 12 years to win his first 11 home decisions of a season. David Wells and David Cone both did it in 1998. Over his two seasons with the Yankees at the Stadium, Sabathia is 18-2 with a 2.63 ERA. And that does not count his three postseason starts of 2009 when he was 2-1 with a 1.66 ERA. Sabathia’s only loss was in Game 1 of the World Series when he pitched well against the Phillies except for Chase Utley, who homered off him twice.

“Maybe it’s because I like my wife’s cooking,” CC says with a smile. “I enjoy being home and relaxing with my family.”

CC was able to get back home early Thursday because of his efficiency. Mark Ellis’ leadoff single to left in the second was the lone hit Sabathia surrendered. Two home runs by Curtis Granderson, a late fill-in for ailing Nick Swisher (sore left knee) and one by Posada gave CC all the run support he needed.

The only thing close to a rough patch was in the eighth when he hit the first batter and walked the next. Sabathia had plenty left in his tank as he struck out pinch hitter Daric Barton, got Crisp on that fly ball and Rajai Davis on another infield out.

Sabathia wanted to come out for the ninth, but Girardi decided to have the big guy call it a day.

“It was really hot,” Girardi said, “and we need to give him a break once in a while. He’s a big, strong man. He’s a football player playing baseball.”

“I can see myself playing the offensive line,” said Sabathia, who is 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds.

“He had no-hit stuff,” Posada said. “He had a great slider and changeup, especially the slider. His slider in, his slider away, he just kept throwing strikes.”

At 19-5 with a 3.02 ERA, Sabathia is a strong candidate for his second American League Cy Young Award. He has always said his Cy Young year of 2007 with the Indians was his most consistent, but 2010 is pretty close. What CC is also doing is working his way into the AL Most Valuable Player Award conversation.

No knock on Robinson Cano, but it could be argued that Sabathia has been equally as valuable to the Yankees, who have had issues with other pitchers in the rotation.

“He has been the one constant,” Girardi said. “That’s what aces do.”

Burnett burns Yanks

The boos directed at A.J. Burnett as he walked off the mound in the fourth inning came from fans who could taste first place. The Yankees had a chance to stand alone atop the American League East Wednesday night, but Burnett stood in the way.

Tampa Bay was losing in Atlanta, so a Yankees victory would have put them in first place by themselves. The Rays did lost, but so did the Yankees.

Burnett awakened the slumbering Philadelphia bats with an unsightly performance. In 3 1/3 innings, the righthander allowed six earned runs on six hits and four walks. Two of the hits were home runs, back-to-back solos in the third by Ryan Howard and Jason Werth. Burnett also hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, allowed two stolen bases and failed to cover first base on a ground ball that became a single in the fourth for Chase Utley, Burnett’s last batter.

“That sort of topped it off,” Burnett said. “We work on that play day after day in spring training. I just had a lapse. There is no excuse for it.”

“He didn’t have command of his fastball,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Burnett. “If you’re not locating your fastball, it puts you in a box.”

Proving once again that overpowering stuff is not the sole path to successful pitching, Jamie Moyer, 47, stifled the Yankees for eight innings, allowing solo home runs to Robinson Cano in the second and Jorge Posada in the fifth and an infield single to Kevin Russo in the eighth and nothing else to post career victory No. 265, one behind Hall of Famer Bob Feller.

Relievers Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin did their jobs, combining for 5 2/3 hitless innings to keep the Yankees in the game. The pair retired the Phillies’ last 16 batters in order. The Yankees even brought the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth against Brad Lidge, who ended the game with a strikeout of Posada.

It was the third consecutive poor outing for Burnett, a stretch during which he has yielded 16 earned runs and 20 hits, including six home runs, in 16 innings. That’s an ERA of 9.00 as his season ERA has climbed to 4.33.

Base runners have been stealing almost at will against Burnett this year. Two more Wednesday night raised the total to 19 in 14 games. The other Yankees starters have allowed only 13 steals in 50 games. One of the Phillies’ steals was the first of the year for Raul Ibanez, who turned 38 earlier this month. Another was by Utley on a pitchout, but Posada dropped the ball before throwing to second.

Moyer’s recent work aside from a complete-game victory over the Padres had not been much to write home about, either. The ageless lefty was 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA over his previous five starts. Facing the Yankees for the first time in five years back when he was with the Mariners, Moyer did his usual find-the-pea-under-the-shell act and had the majors’ best hitting team (.280) off-balance all night.

“He never throws the ball over the plate, but he hits his spots,” Derek Jeter said. “It shows you don’t have to throw hard. He makes you hit his pitch.”