Game 25, Mariners at Yankees
Chris Young vs. CC Sabathia, 4:10pm
Thanks to the Late Night segment featuring Robinson Cano, today’s M’s game is one of the more anticipated match-ups on the daily schedule. Can’t think of the last time that would’ve been true; maybe Felix’s first post-perfection start? Ichiro’s first game in pinstripes would qualify as well.
One of the stories of the pre-season was CC Sabathia’s dramatic weight loss. The formerly hefty lefty had lost at least one MPH in average fastball velocity in the last two years (from 2011-2012, and from 2012-2013), so re-focusing on stamina, core strength and the like seemed to make sense. But the early returns aren’t great, at least if velocity was the target of CC”s program. Instead of halting the decline, it’s picked up speed, and Sabathia’s average fastball today barely cracks 90mph.
The formidable slider that used to destroy lefties doesn’t have quite the same bite, so he’s a bit less effective against lefties in recent years. That said, he’s faced righty-dominant lineups routinely, and to the degree he’s slipped, it’s really been a function of right-handers hitting him a lot harder than they did in 2010 and before. Still, this an experienced and extremely talented pitcher, so Sabathia’s not a pushover at all. His K% is up this year, and his GB% is suddenly at a career high – over 10 percentage points above his career average. He’s using a sinker much more than he did in the past – basically doubling the percentage he throws to righties, and as righties make up 3/4 of the batters he sees, that’s a lot of sinkers.
Chris Young’s superficially the same pitcher he always was – he’s got a very low BABIP and a sky-high strand rate, and thus his FIP is atrocious but his ERA’s more than adequate. Sure, he’s faced Houston and Miami, but he’s also faced Oakland twice, and that’s a much better offensive club than New York is. That said, Oakland/Seattle are much, much better parks to pitch in than new Yankee stadium with its inviting right-field fence.
1: Almonte, CF
2: Romero, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Gillespie, LF
7: Seager, 3B
8: Zunino, C
9: Bloomquist, :sigh:
Andrew Carraway and Scott DeCecco make the only two starts in the M’s system today, as Clinton’s double-header was postponed.