After CC Sabathia bombed in his first start of the year on Opening Day, I went back and took a look at his career numbers on that day and they weren’t pretty. However, they were very strong in his second start so it is safe to say that last night’s poor performance was a little unexpected from Sabathia.
It wasn’t a straight out bad start though. Sabathia actually had a strong 1st, 4th, and 6th innings where he not only retired the Orioles in order, but did it efficiently. The 2nd, 3rd, and 5th innings were the ones where he really struggled. He gave up a pair of runs in the 2nd and 5th innings and things could have been even worse if not for a wide strike zone.
Still, it was an improvement over his first start and considering the fact that Sabathia typically struggles a little bit more in April it’s a good sign. Sabathia also thought he improved.
“I was just trying to be too fine with my fastball,” Sabathia told Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News. “I had good command and my pitches were doing what they needed to, I was just trying to make too good a pitch. … My cutter was pretty good, I threw some changeups good late. I felt a lot better than I did in my first start.”
Hopefully Sabathia can settle into a groove soon because while there is no reason to be concerned of a prolonged slump, he is extremely important piece to this rotation. It’s hard to overstate his importance because without him at the head, the rotation questions behind him become much more stark.
He did look better in his first start, hopefully he can continue that trend his next time out.