First off, this post will not discuss anything involving CC Sabathia‘s statistics in the playoffs this or last year. Unlike mainstream media outlets, I do not care about the sample size of five games started–1 in 2001, 3 last year, and 1 this year–and I am not automatically going to jump on the his-arm-was-tired-from-so-many-games-on-3-days-rest bandwagon. Is it possible? Sure, but I’m not fully convinced and am not going to make a leap just to sound like I have a concrete opinion on the matter. If I don’t, I’m not going to lie. Instead, what I want to discuss from yesterday’s Phillies-Brewers game is Brett Myers… and I don’t even mean his pitching.
No, I want to discuss Brett Myers‘ plate appearances against Sabathia yesterday, since they resulted in about 1/5 of Sabathia’s total pitches thrown. First, some context!
In the bottom of the second, with the Brewers leading 1-0, CC retired Pat Burrell before Jayson Werth hit a double to left-center. Pedro Feliz then stepped up to bat, and I, along with several other sports bar patrons all spoke of how Sabathia should just throw slider after slider to Feliz, since he really struggles with anything other than fastballs. Hmm, sounds like another Pedro–5 points to whomever guesses which one! Sure enough, CC hung a changeup and Feliz doubled in Werth to tie the game 1-1. Carlos Ruiz then grounded out, advancing Feliz to third base, but making the second out, meaning that it was very unlikely the Phillies would take the lead. After all, Brett Myers, one of the worst hitting pitchers in baseball, was up, with two outs, against one of the best pitchers of the last five years.
What ensued was a shocking nine pitch plate appearance in which Myers not only fouled pitches off, but managed to lay off of some extremely close ones. Sabathia looked visibly frustrated and eventually walked Myers. He then walked Jimmy Rollins before Shane Victorino hit the grand slam. While Victorino will get most of the credit for the Phillies win, I would definitely adjust the WPA of this game to give more credit to Myers, since his plate appearance had an extremely unlikely result and allowed the inning to extend, which in turn allowed Victorino to hit the grand slam.
The Phillies led 5-1 and Myers was cruising. In the fourth inning, Sabathia and Myers met again, this time for an epic 10-pitch at bat in which Myers eventually flew out to centerfield. Once again, he laid off and fouled off pitchess. And it wasn’t as if CC just threw fastballs: each time he pretty much reached back and gave Myers everything in his repertoire. If the Brewers win the next two games, it will set up a likely Sabathia-Hamels matchup in Philadelphia, where CC can look for some redemption. He was wild yesterday, and frustrated at his supposed inability to retire one of the worst hitting pitchers in the game, but this is not CC Sabathia. Brett Myers may get credited with a pitching win and a solid line on the mound, but his time at the plate really helped change this game as well.
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