The Yankees dropped the series opener against the Diamondbacks 3-1. It was only a two-run deficit, but it felt like much more than that. The Yankees’ offense was stagnant. Zack Greinke was dealing, and Wilmer Flores -- yes, Wilmer Flores -- plated just enough runs to carry Arizona to victory. Let’s save the bad for later though. We’ve got a milestone to talk about.
CC Sabathia didn’t get the win, but he still got his 3,000 strikeout. After an easy, 10-pitch first inning with no strikeouts, Sabathia clinched history in the second. David Peralta led things off, and Sabathia caught him looking on the sixth pitch of the at-bat. The next hitter, Christian Walker, shared a similar fate, and on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Sabathia got him swinging on a cutter upstairs. Two batters later, former-Yankee John Ryan Murphy got to face his former batterymate, and CC made quick work of him. Sabathia fed him four cutters then got Murphy swinging at a changeup to make history.
With Murphy’s strikeout, Sabathia became just the third left-hander in Major League history to record 3,000 strikeouts. Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton are the only others to accomplish the same feat.
Since the milestone punch out was also the third out of the inning, the Yankees’ bench all came out to greet Sabathia before he could make it to the dugout. CC also got the chance to share the moment with his kids and wife, who were all in attendance. It was undoubtedly the best part of watching the game.
Outside of Sabathia, there weren’t too many notable performances coming out of the visiting dugout. Gary Sanchez stayed hot by adding a double and scoring the Yankees’ lone run. Gleyber Torres came up with the team’s only RBI on a double of his own, but outside of those two, that was pretty much it as far as offense went. The Yankees’ five through nine hitters went 1-15.
For as many wins as this team has scratched together recently, they haven’t had to face a pitcher as good as Zack Greinke, and it showed. Greinke went 7.2 innings, only allowed five hits, one run, and struck out seven. That might not be the most eye-popping line, but it was clear the Yankees couldn’t figure out the Diamondbacks starter.
I mentioned Greinke’s eephus pitch in the game thread, and it came out a handful of times. For clarity, it’s really a curveball that he throws around 65-68 mph, but Statcast occasionally picks it up as an eephus. Regardless, Greinke threw 11 of them. The Yankees swung at five, but only put one into play. It wasn’t just the curveball/eephus working though. Once Greinke was on, he had retired 14 consecutive hitters.
Zack Greinke, Beautiful 66mph Slow Curve. pic.twitter.com/c3316cE8jf— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 1, 2019
Somehow, Wilmer Flores found a way to single-handedly provide enough offense to propel the Diamondbacks to victory. In the second inning, Sabathia threw Flores a cutter that caught way too much of the plate, and Flores put it into the left field seats, giving the Arizona a 1-0 lead. The Yankees tied it up in the fourth, but Flores broke the tie with an RBI single. He hit in Eduardo Escobar, who led off the inning with a double.
Definitely not a great start to the series, but there was undoubtedly some good too. Sabathia just accomplished an increasingly-rare feat, and that made the game worth watching regardless of the score. The Yankees wrap up this series and their West Coast trip this afternoon. First pitch is at 3:40 EST.