Yesterday, CC Sabathia had his worst start of the season. The fact that it was a start in which he gave up just four hits and four runs just goes to show us how great he’s been this season. But, CC’s control was flat out off as he walked six Oakland batters in eight innings while only striking out five.
Not surprisingly, it was the fastball control that gave Sabathia fits against Oakland. He threw 34 fastballs yesterday afternoon, and only 16 of them landed for strikes. The mark, 47.06%, was Sabtahia’s lowest fastball strike percentage of the season. He also only got one swing-and-a-miss on his fastball.
Overall, CC only got 7% of his pitches to end in a swing and a miss, which was the second lowest of the season (4/4 vs. Boston: 6%). This comes after two starts versus Texas and Tampa respectively, in which his swing-and-miss percentages were 19% and 10%.
As we can see, CC’s fastballs were either off of the plate to the catcher’s right or they were over the middle. That’s obviously not a good combination and is the key to why he struggled yesterday.
Despite the shaky control, CC did a good job of limiting the damage. When most guys walks six batters in a game, they give up many more runs than four. That Sabathia was able to keep the A’s to four hits and not let the game get totally away from his team was impressive. Thursday’s outing was definitely the exception to CC’s rule of strike throwing and good control. I don’t expect this trend to continue at all.