CC Sabathia tied a career high in strikeouts yesterday afternoon, fanning 13 Milwaukee Brewers in 7.2 innings as the Yankees rolled to a 5-0 victory and a series sweep. All of Sabathia's punch outs versus the club that he propelled to the playoffs in 2008 were of the swinging variety.
Seven of CCs Ks came on his slider. A souped-up fastball averaging about 95 MPH (his season average is 93.5 MPH) recorded four whiffs, and his changeup got two strikeouts.
Sabathia managed to sit down Prince Fielder, ranking fourth in the majors in Weighted On-Base Average, twice. Sabathia blew a high 96 MPH fastball past the Big Veggie in the first inning. With the bases loaded and two out in the third, Fielder swung through an 85 MPH slider perfectly located on the outside corner of the plate:
Sabathia also victimized lefty hitters Mat Gamel and George Kottaras twice on sliders. Each whiffed at a slider in the zone and chased one off the plate. Well off the plate, in Gamel's case:
Sabathia toyed with righty-hitting Rickie Weeks, striking him out on a pair of 95 MPH fastballs on the outside corner and a diving 88 MPH changeup in nearly the same spot:
Likely well aware of Carlos Gomez's tendency to chase balls, gum wrappers, birds and low flying planes, Sabathia got the center fielder to swing at high 95 MPH heat and a slider at the shoe tops:
Finally, Corey Hart fanned on an outside changeup and a slider just out of the lower portion of the zone:
Sabathia will soon turn 31, but he's showing no signs of slowing down. Imagine where the Yankees' rotation, a middling seventh in the American League in Fielding Independent Pitching, would be without the big workhorse.