On Monday, New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia shut down the Atlanta Braves, allowing just two runs while striking out 10 and walking one batter. It was Sabathia's first complete game of the season and his second straight in which he performed like the dominant hurler that Yankees fans are accustomed to seeing. Over his previous six starts, Sabathia posted a 3.95 ERA, allowing 21 runs and a .823 OPS against. Those six starts prompted quite a bit of worry and discussion in Yankee land about the ace. Was there something wrong with Sabathia?
It's hard to blame people for wondering. Sabathia was fantastic in 2011 in what was his best season since 2008. Accounting for the hitter-friendly park he pitched in half of the time, Sabathia's 3.00 ERA was 29 percent better than league average. More impressive was Sabathia's 2.88 FIP, which led the American League.
Considering Sabathia's seemingly slow start to the season and his age (he turns 32 later this month), it makes one wonder if we are seeing the beginning of his decline. And a look at the pitch data suggests he's starting to slip in one key category.