Great stuff, as always, via Mark Simon -
In case you couldn’t tell from watching, the numbers show that something’s wrong with C.C. Sabathia’s fastball
Since the beginning of August, hitters have been crushing Sabathia’s heater like few others in the major leagues.
Overall, it’s been hit to a .408 batting average by opponents over his last nine starts. Entering Tuesday, there were only three pitchers whose fastball had been hit for a higher average in this stretch.
The unfortunate leader happens to be Sabathia’s teammate, A.J. Burnett (.466).
The pitch location hasn’t mattered. If the ball is in the strike zone, it’s getting pummeled. The Rays bopped Sabathia’s fastball for four home runs the last time they faced him last month (they hit five against him in the game). Since then, Sabathia has yielded only one long ball with his fastball, but he’s given up 34 other hits with it.
Sabathia’s fastball velocity is not down at all comparatively. It’s still coming in at an average of 94.4 miles-per-hour. It’s going out at a faster velocity too, particularly when Sabathia throws it waist-high.
Since August 1, opponents are 27-for-53 (.509 batting average, .849 slugging percentage) in an at-bat that ends with a belt-high fastball. They hit .290 against it, with a .355 slugging percentage (meaning it was mostly hit for harmless singles) prior to this slump.
Since the velo is still there, I wonder what the issue is? Lack of movement? Maybe? But, it’s probably all command. And, maybe that’s a matter of being too strong…because of the six-man rotation and all…