W2W4: Braves at Yankees (June 18)
June, 18, 2012
By Katie Sharp, ESPN Stats & Information
C.C. Sabathia Stats To Watch
The Yankees' starting five is on quite a roll this month, leading all AL rotations with a 1.97 ERA and .224 opponent batting average in 15 starts.
But somehow CC Sabathia has been the deadweight during this stretch of great pitching. His ERA of 3.86 in June is by far the worst of anyone in the Yankees' rotation.
Sabathia allowed a season-high 10 hits and four runs in his most recent start, against the Braves last week.
They tagged his fastball for nine hits in 17 at-bats and he got just two swings-and-misses with his heater. His fastball averaged 91.6 mph, its lowest velocity in a start since April 17.
The Braves pounded him, as nine of 25 balls in play were classified as "well-hit" by Inside Edge video review. He allowed five doubles (all on fastballs) in a start for just the second time in his career and first time since 2004.
One encouraging sign, however, from that outing was a filthy slider that got a season-high 11 outs, including five strikeouts. Opponents are now 4-for-31 (.129) with 15 strikeouts in at-bats ending in a slider over his last three starts.
Despite CC's troubles, he has been able to give the Yankees length, with an AL-best 10 starts of at least seven innings this season. Also, he has thrown at least 100 pitches in 21 straight starts dating to last August, the longest streak by a Yankee since 1988 (when pitch count data is available).
Mike Minor Stats To Watch
Mike Minor allowed just one run in 7⅓ innings in his first-ever start against the Yankees last week in Atlanta. The southpaw shut down the Yankees' lefties in that game, allowing just one hit in eight plate appearances.
The Yankees also couldn't generate any scoring chances against him, as they went hitless with five groundouts in eight at-bats with runners on base. Over Minor's last five starts, opponents are 3-for-28 (.107) with men on base; in his first eight starts, opponents hit .422 with runners on base.
Minor has faced a team in back-to-back starts just once in his career, when he started twice in a row against the Marlins last September. In his first start he allowed just one run in 5⅔ innings; in his next start against them six days later, he allowed four runs in 5⅔ innings.
Searching for runs
The Braves are averaging just two runs per game in their last seven contests, during which they have just one win, and have been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since 2009.
Just once in the last 20 seasons has Atlanta been shut out in three straight games: In June 2007, they were blanked twice by the Red Sox and once by the Tigers. That was part of a miserable five-game losing streak against AL teams during which they scored only one run and fell out of the NL East race.