Here’s the count on CC Sabathia:

Three winning starts.

Two losing starts.

One missing heater.

Add them up and you get, to steal a “Seinfeld” line, a pretty big matzo ball hanging out there.

Sabathia’s substandard velocity, a curiosity that could be excused in his three prior outings, again became a primary item of conversation last night, as the Yankees and their ace suffered a 5-1 loss to the dangerous Rays at Tropicana Field. The big lefty gave up a season-worst five-runs, including a season-worst three home runs, as the Yankees fell to 10-8 on the season. Four of the runs came in the first inning, putting the game out of reach as the Yankees’ bats could do little against Tampa Bay’s dynamite southpaw Matt Moore.

“I feel fine,” said Sabathia, whose ERA rose from 2.57 to 3.34. “I just need to pitch better. Bottom line.”

“In the past, when I used to catch him, he was throwing 95, but if he misses, he’d get hit,” Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said. “It’s the same. You’ve just got to hit the corners and make the hitters uncomfortable.”

This isn’t personal. Sabathia is among the toughest, most intelligent pitchers in the game. There’s reason to think he can work through life at about 90 mph. After all, he won his three prior starts throwing at this velocity. Even last night, he hung around through the seventh inning, sparing the Yankees’ bullpen, and put up eight strikeouts against two walks.

Nevertheless, we’re discussing a very simple premise: The harder you throw, especially with the command Sabathia routinely possesses, the more room for error you create. And when you throw a four-seam fastball at 89 mph, as Sabathia did to Yunel Escobar in the first inning and again to Ryan Roberts in the third inning, the ball has a better chance of leaving the yard, as it did in both of these instances. Roberts also took Sabathia deep in the first on an 0-and-2 hanging slider.