CC Sabathia struggled for the Yankees today. The big man went six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. This marked the third shaky start Sabathia has had in his last five games. But the big man left with a commanding 10-5 lead…

However, the foursome of David Robertson, Sergio Mitre, Damaso Marte, and Joba Chamberlain gave up seven Indian runs in the 7th inning, putting the Yankees in a 12-10 hole. The Indians would add a run in the 8th and the Yankees 9th inning rally stopped short as the Yanks fell, 13-11.

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Initial Reaction:

This is about as disappointing as it gets. The Yankees had 3-0 lead after three innings with Sabathia throwing only 31 pitches. He was cruising through hitters until he faltered in the fourth inning. Sabathia gave up three Indian runs, tying the game. He needed a total of 29 pitches to get through the inning, almost matching the total of the three previous innings. The Yanks scored six more times for him in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by Robinson Cano’s two-RBI double. This put the Yanks up by six.

Let’s fast forward to the seventh inning, where the Yanks held a 10-5 and had David Robertson coming in relief of Sabathia. Robertson hit Trevor Crowe with a pitch, got Shin Soo Choo to fly out to left before Crowe stole 2nd allowing Austin Kearns to single him in. After the Kearns’ single, Dave Eiland came out to the mound and Robertson left the game with an apparent back injury. Mitre replaced Robertson and the damage continued. Jhonny Peralta walked before the Yanks brought in Marte to face the lefty-swinging, Russell Branyan. Marte got Branyan to fly out to center. With two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd still ahead 10-6, Girardi continued to micro-manage the inning by bringing in Chamberlain. Here’s where it got ugly:

Righty-swinging Mark Grudzielanek singled in Kearns making it 10-7. Chamberlain walked Matt LaPorta, loading the bases. Lou Marson and Jason Donald hit back to back double tying the game at ten. Trevor Crowe, hitting for the second time in the inning, singled in Donald. Chamberlain finally struck out Choo to end the inning, but the damage was done.

Positives From The Game:

Three’s Company: Amidst this bullpen disaster, there were a lot of offensive fireworks. Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, and Cano all had three hits in the loss. Cano and Alex Rodriguez each drove in three runs. Three seemed like the magic number..

David Huff: In the third inning, Cleveland starter David Huff was hit by an Alex Rodriguez line drive right above the ear. Huff was on the ground for about ten minutes before being taken off on a stretcher. We received word that all of tests came back negative and Huff was released from the hospital, so this is great news.

Negatives From The Game:

Where do we start?

Joba is Junk: In his last five innings of work, Joba has allowed eleven hits and ten earned runs! He allowed four earned runs in only a third of an inning today. All of these runs came to a completely inexperienced Indians club..

Here’s the Strike zone plot…A lot of location inconsistencies and meatballs within the zone.

Joe Girardi: This loss is on him. With a 10-6 lead in the 7th inning and two-out, he began micro-managing again. Marte looked really good when he got the lefty Branyan to fly out to center. The righty-swinging, Mark Grudzielanek, who is a .247 hitter this year and is 1 for his last 16, needed to be matched up again? He is 1 for 3 with a strikeout in his career against Marte and his lefty/righty splits aren’t dramatic (.287 right/.296 left).

I can understand matching up and bringing Joba in during the 7th if this was Evan Longoria or Kevin Youkilis, but Grudzielanek? Terrible move.

Plus, how much longer can he go to Joba in late-game tight spots? I almost feel better having, gulp, Marte in there.

Sabathia Stinks: Sabathia has had problems with his command in his last two starts. The Mets and Indians knocked seventeen hits off him in only 12 innings. It’s imperative for him to pitch well for the Yanks. His next start is Wednesday against the Orioles, a team who he has dominated in his career (11-1, 2.52 ERA). If he struggles on Wednesday, I’ll start getting worried.

David Robertson: He left the 7th inning with an apparent back injury. He had tests after the game, but we don’t know the extend of the injury. Wonderful.

Interesting Facts:

7: Runs scored by Cleveland in the 7th inning. The only stat Yankee-related stat you need to know.

Bon Jovi: Performing tonight at the Meadowlands. That’s all Michael Kay was talking about.

What’s Next?:

The Yankees will look to bounce back tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, 1:05 PM, YES: Justin Masterson (0-5, 6.13 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (5-2, 3.55 ERA)

Last Start:
Masterson: Loss, four innings, five earned runs, no strikeouts (vs. White Sox)
Burnett: Win, five innings, no runs, five strikeouts (at Twins)

Career Stats:
Masterson: 1-2, 3.68 ERA (five appearances); 0-2, 3.68 ERA at Yankee Stadium
Burnett: 1-4, 6.69 ERA (six starts); 2-1, 2.57 ERA at Yankee Stadium in 2010

**Masterson has been with the Indians since last summer. He has a 1-12 record.