Monday, April 13, 2009

Outing 2: Fixes mechanics, regains fastballs, has a strong bounceback

7.2 IP 6 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 6 K 0 HR 108 PITCHES (WIN)

Sabathia and pitching coach Dave Eiland talked about mechanics. They changed how Sabathia specifically landed on his front foot. The film comparisons were showing that his stride was too long and that could have thrown off all of his mechanics. Subsequently on Saturday CC regained the good old velocity we are used to seeing, throwing the high heat at 96 mph. He cruised through 7.2 scoreless. He could have stayed in longer but with a strong lead Girardi played it safe. Smart thing to do

"Fastball command, getting ahead of guys. It felt a lot better than the first game"

Next game should be very interesting. New stadium opener, and it's against the CC-less and winless Indians. The Tribe's lineup always scares me and they've got to have very detailed pitching reports on CC (who's pitched 94% of his games with them).

On a sidenote --- A sub plot to the series will be: Will we see American Idle give up 9 ER in 1 IP again (as he did in Texas last week)?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Outing 1: No fastball=no strikeouts. He'll be fine next time

4.1 IP 8 H 6 R 6 ER 5 BB 0 K 0 HR 95 PITCHES

Certainly not a quality start yesterday. But calm down. You can't realistically expect 33 quality starts. Sabathia has always been a slow starter, has never fared well in openers and it's his first time he's starting off with a new team. And it's a big contract, high expectations. Truthfully the the damage could have been a whole lot worse if Nady didn't make the spectacular pitch to prevent more runs from scoring or if Albadejo didn't get Zaun to fly out with 2 of CC's inherited runners on.

The most alarming part of his line was 0 k's. Sabathia’s last start without a strikeout was July 25, 2005 at Oakland. But for what it's worth he had 21k's in 19 IP in the Spring and we saw the velocity we were used to seeing. But this speaks to the cause for the bad outing: CC clearly had no fastball and was trying to do much without his full repertoire of pitches. CC without the fastball is too easy to beat because the O's sat on his curve and slurvy-slider all 4+ innings. As Mohammed Ali (also CC...Cassius Clay) said "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee". He needs to float with all 3 of his pitches to sting. He hit the numbers on the gun all Spring so he'll be back and strong.

We could sit around and second guess Girardi for leaving him in after the 3rd (to protect CC's psyche from the NY media which is now questioning if he can pitch) but as a veteran who's shown he can dominate it's not a concern. Unlike the Big Unit - CC is younger, in his prime and already seems more of a leader in the clubhouse.

Some quotes from the big guy:

"I definitely feel like I let us down today...It's disappointing to come out, first start, and have a bad game like this. ... It's not what I imagined...I've been through this before," he said. "It is one start. I go back out in five days and try to be better."