"It's tough; today's game was just a sum of my season -- inconsistent," the New York Yankees left-hander said. "Get off to a good start, struggle, then feel good at the end. It's me putting together a good game, being able to go out and dominate somebody when I feel good."
After a quick and easy first inning, Sabathia seemed primed to handle a Tampa Bay Rays lineup that had been dominated by Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova during the first two games of the series. Instead, Sabathia allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits and one walk in seven innings, striking out a season-high 12.
"I just felt like I was cutting the ball, not making some pitches. I ended up giving up a few runs," Sabathia said of the second, third and fourth innings of the Yankees' 7-3 loss. "The last three innings I felt pretty good. Made sure I drove the ball through the zone, got on top and made sure my mechanics were good."
Sabathia (7-3) gave up a run in the second, then allowed two unearned runs in the third after Alex Rodriguez opened the door for a rally with a one-out throwing error. The Rays tagged Sabathia for two more runs in the fourth, both coming on a double by No. 9 hitter Drew Sutton, who entered the game with a .219 average, two extra-base hits and four RBI this season.
"I think it's just not hitting my location," Sabathia said. "If I make a pitch there to Sutton on 1-2, we're in a good spot. I'm just not making pitches. It's a little frustrating not being able to pick up the guys."
Sabathia fell to 3-6 against the Rays in 16 starts as a Yankee, losing to David Price for the sixth time in seven matchups.
"That's a good team, always at the top of the division," Sabathia said. "I need to do better, to make better pitches against those guys."