We’ve seen two versions of C.C. Sabathia so far this season.
First four starts: 18 IP, 0-3, 11.57 ERA, 14 K, 14 BB, 5 HR
Last four starts: 27.1 IP, 2-2, 1.97 ERA, 32 K, 6 BB, 1 HR
You’ll have to look beyond the record here, as the lack of run support has been well-documented in these parts. The loss to New York came in a 1-0 game, coincidently thanks to that sole home run allowed in said stretch.
Last night, the Tribe put up another one of those “we’ll only produce runs in one inning” types of games. Thankfully, for Sabathia, it was a six-run seventh inning – all he needed for his second win of the season. Though one of the better pitcher battles of the season, the reigning Cy Young winner tossed seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball. He allowed zero home runs, struck out nine and walked two. I’ll take it.
Looking at Sabathia’s season totals, and it is obvious that the aforementioned start is weighing heavily on the numbers. But assuming that the run-support improves (it just has to, right?), and the Sabathia of late is the actual Sabathia that we’re going to see from here out, it will be pretty easy to forget about the rough start. Or will it?
Personally, I had faith in the big man, with my only concern is the pending contract issues. I want what’s best for the team, but what if what’s best for the team in the long-run isn’t exactly best for the team now? You can bet that those with the checkbooks are willing to look past the rough start, so those hoping for a discount come extension-signing day can put that one away for good. But what if he starts to produce Cy Young numbers again, but the run-support stays next to nil? The Tribe will not win games due to offensive inefficiency, and Sabathia’s value would continue on its upward assent.
I don’t care what we would be able to get for Sabthia on the offensive side of things. No prospect or left fielder can come to mind that I’d rather have instead of a left-handed ace starting pitcher. But maybe that’s just me.
Oh, such inner-battles.
Other quick notes of mention from yesterday:
– Ben Francisco didn’t start, but had a pinch-hit double in the seventh, knocking in two runs. He’s in the midst of a five-game hitting streak, batting .389/.421/.556. Small sample, of course, but still encouraging.
– Travis Hafner struck out again, but did go 2-for-3 with a double and run scored. It is the first time he’s crossed home plate since April 25th (10 games).
– Though a non-save situation, Masa Kobayashi tossed a perfect ninth, striking out one batter – lead-off hitter, and recent All-Star, Alex Rios. Not bad at all.
– Asdrubal Cabrera’s 0-for-3 with two strikeouts now puts him at a .181 clip on the year. He’s currently in the midst of a 1-for-25 slump with seven strikeouts. He also has the lowest OPS of all Indians with at least 20 ABs. I know that he’s not a power hitter, but his inability to get on base has just been atrocious.
– To end on a good note, Casey Blake has gone 4-for-1o with two doubles, with two runs scored and four RBI in the last three games. He’s batted seventh, eighth and ninth respectively and while his current .221 average doesn’t scream “move him up the lineup,” it’s something to consider given the struggles at the top.