The New York Yankees have lost the last four games that CC Sabathia has started. Of all the stats that can be broken down during the Yankees' slide, none illustrates why they have dropped 10 games in the standings more than that.
The Yankees need to be able to hand the ball to Sabathia and get a win. Instead, Sabathia has not shut down the opposition and is not the stable arm that manager Joe Girardi can count on to give the bullpen the night off.
He has not been terrible in his starts. This is not a Kevin Brown-like meltdown. But according to Erik Boland of Newsday, his velocity is down. And games he used to breeze through are now long, drawn-out affairs where the bullpen needs to be up in the sixth inning.
His September 14th start against Tampa Bay was a typical recent start. He started off fine, keeping the Rays scoreless through four innings. But he could not put away Chris Gimenez in the fifth inning. Suddenly he lost his control and his advantage over the hitters. Before long, he coughed up the lead and took the loss.
According to Steven Miller of MLB.com, Sabathia admitted "things like that, when I'm going good, usually don't happen."
Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York wrote that Sabathia is not excusing his subpar performances on his recent stints on the disabled list, including one in August.
However, there is a difference between making an excuse and finding an explanation for a problem. If Sabathia is indeed hurt, then it would be smart for the Yankees to have him examined again or maybe skip a start.
There is not a lot of time to fix this problem for the Yankees. But if they do not find out if there is something physically wrong with their ace, they might fall behind not only Baltimore, but Oakland, Anaheim and Tampa Bay and miss the playoffs altogether.
Missing one Sabathia start and determining what the problem is will not kill the Yankees. It is not as if they are winning his starts now.