You may not remember this now - not after what happened in the American League Division Series last year - but the Orioles fared pretty well against CC Sabathia in the 2012 regular season.
Sabathia made three starts against the Orioles then and went 0-2 with an ERA of 6.38 allowing 13 earned runs and four homers over 18 1/3 innings.
But then he won Games 1 and 5 of the ALDS against the Orioles going 2-0 with an ERA of 1.53 and WHIP of 0.85 in those two games. He also beat the Orioles this year on April 12, going eight innings allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits.
Sabathia is 17-4 with an ERA of 3.03 in 26 career starts against the Orioles.
“What a lot of people miss about Sabathia is what a pitcher he is,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said today. “You look at percentage of offspeed pitches, we all know there is no such thing as a fastball count anymore. We kept up with in spring training on how many 2-1 offspeed pitches were thrown. It was a really high percentage. You kind of get your hitters to realize how many people pitch backwards.
“CC is so athletic people forget. To be able to do this, this long, you have to be able to repeat your delivery and get the ball in the right place.”
This Fangraphs pitch FX chart shows Sabathia’s fastball velocity in a three-year decline from 93.9 mph in 2011 to 92.4 in 2012 and to 90.1 this year.
He’s still pretty good at 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA over eight starts with six quality starts. Coming into tonight he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three straight starts and he’s done that five times on the season.
Update: Well, they haven’t gotten past him yet, but they have gotten even with him at 2-2 after five innings. After solo homers off Freddy Garcia in the first and second put New York up 2-0, Chris Davis pulled the Orioles within 2-1 with a solo homer, his 13th, in the last of the second. A Nick Markakis RBI single in the fifth made it a 2-2 game. Over his last 10 games, Markakis is 16-for-42 (.381) with six multi-hit games.