Yankees manager Aaron Boone often says James Paxton’s horrible numbers in first innings are due in part to bad luck.
That wasn’t the case in Saturday’s 6-5 win over Cleveland, as Paxton gave up two more runs. In 22 starts this year, the left-hander has allowed 27 runs for an ERA of 11.05, the worst in the majors (minimum 15 innings).
“It’s something we worked on all year,’’ Boone said. “The first inning hasn’t been nearly like the results have been, but today, I thought he struggled a little. He didn’t have his curveball right away and it took him a handful of hitters to settle in with his command.”
Paxton walked Francisco Lindor to lead off the game, then Oscar Mercado sent a double deep into the gap in right-center. Carlos Santana followed with a single up the middle to drive in both runners and give the Indians a 2-0 lead.As usual, Paxton immediately bounced back. He retired 13 of the next 14 hitters after a first inning walk to Yasiel Puig before Lindor doubled down the left-field line with two outs in the fifth and Paxton eventually gave up two more runs. He has a 2.96 ERA in all innings other than the first.
“I’ve been trying to get a way through it all year,’’ Paxton said of the 30-pitch inning. “I continue to do everything I can to mitigate that. I’m going after it with everything I’ve got. Things aren’t going my way for some reason.”
CC Sabathia, before getting tossed out of Saturday’s game while still on the injured list for arguing from the dugout, said he isn’t attaching much meaning to his start on Sunday against the team that drafted him.
“So far, nothing has made me sentimental,’’ Sabathia said before what could be the final start of his career versus the Indians, who made him their first-round choice in the 1998 amateur draft. “The only thing I think might make me feel that way will be a parade.”
Sabathia’s last outing came on July 27, when he didn’t last five innings against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The next day, Sabathia was placed on the IL and got another injection in order to alleviate some of the discomfort he said is always present.