By: Josh Sabo | Minor League Writer
Today was the first day this spring that an important part of 2014 Yankees rotation struggled. CC Sabathia allowed 3 runs in 3 innings. Even more concerning than the runs he allowed was the fact that he wasn't able to reach 90 MPH, with any of his fastballs.
Sabathia's struggles put the Yankees in an early three to nothing hole. A hole the Yankees could not get out of, as the Nationals pitchers performed really well in their 3-2 win over the Bombers Tuesday in Viera, Florida.
The player of the game for the Nationals should be Anthony Rendon. Rendon played a role in all three of the Nationals runs. He led off the game with a walk and ended up scoring on a fielder's choice by Wilson Ramos. Ramos's ground ball was almost turned into a really nice double play, but he was able to beat out the throw to first. On the play second baseman--Scott Sizemore-- showed tremendous range and athleticism by fielding a ball up the middle and flipping the ball behind his back to Eduardo Nunez. Nunez made a good throw but Ramos was still able to beat it out.
One inning later Rendon hit a double to left field and brought home two more National runs. This made the game 3-0, and forced the Yankees to play catchup all afternoon. Fortunately the Yankees pitching settled down after that inning, as CC and the Yankees relievers did their job.
However this early lead was able to stand, as the Yankees offense couldn't do much versus Washington. The Yankees first hit came in the 5th inning versus Drew Storen. Eduardo Nunez hit a two triple to right field, and later scored on a line drive single to right by Dean Anna.
The Yankees were able to able to score one more run in the 6th inning, but that was it for them. The run in the sixth came courtesy or a Brett Gardner sac fly, which scored Zoilo Almonte from third. Almonte had doubled earlier in the inning and moved to third after Jacoby Ellsbury flew out to center. As of now it really looks like Almonte should win a roster spot over Ichiro Suzuki, though I doubt that actually happens.
After the sixth inning the Yankees offense didn't do anything noteworthy, though Yangervis Solarte did have a hit, and a few players had nice looking at-bats.
The relievers that the Yankees used today were: Matt Daley, Jim Miller, David Herndon, Cesar Cabral, and Brian Gordon. Jim Miller and Daley looked very good versus regular National's starters. Miller was able to strike Jayson Werth and Daley struck out Tyler Moore. So far both pitchers look like they have an outside chance of making the club. Herndon, Cabral, and Gordon also looked good but pitched versus lesser batters.
Overall the main takeaway from this game is that CC couldn't reach 90 MPH. That isn't that concerning, but since he lost velocity last season it will scare a lot of fans. CC threw a few fastballs at around 85-87 MPH.Usually cutters are slower than regular fastballs so it's possible that a lot of the fastballs he threw were simply cutters. Either way it's too early to be worried about CC.
The Yankees will be playing the Tigers tomorrow at 1:05 PM.