CC Sabathia‘s last start didn’t go exactly to plan–he gave up six runs in the first two innings of work, giving the Yankees a loss on Opening Day. Today, he aims to bounceback from not only his Opening Day start, but also from his wretched 2013 season, one where he had an ERA of almost five.
Sabathia admits in his last start he was overexcited the first two innings before he settled down and pitched four scoreless innings. He said he now knows he has to relax on the mound so he can find his rhythm.
I think it was just a matter of relaxing,” Sabathia said of his Opening Day start. “I have to try to find a place in the middle where I can pitch good.”
There was one pitch Sabathia didn’t throw in the first two innings that he incorporated in the third, leading him to be more effective: The cutter. Sabathia learned the cutter from Andy Pettitte and has now added it into his repertoire. It was a good pitch for him which helped Sabathia keep the Houston Astros hitters off balance for the remainder of his start. If Sabathia wants to be successful, he has to throw the cutter for strikes and he has to show finesse. He’s no longer the power pitcher he once was and now has to rely on location to get hitters out.
Sabathia has struggled in recent years, but he has a good history with his opponent: He’s 14-4 in his career against the Blue Jays. It’s early in the season, in fact, it’s only the first week, but Sabathia knows what’s on the line in this game. There’s a huge difference between the Yankees going back to the Bronx with a 3-3 record or going home 2-4.