Westbrook has been solid all season for Cleveland and is 6-4 with a 3.36 ERA over his last 12 starts to up his record to 12-8.
However, the right-hander has lost two straight starts despite allowing only three runs in 16 innings over that span. He yielded just one run and five hits over eight innings Sunday, but lost a 1-0 pitchers’ duel with Oakland left-hander Barry Zito.
“One pitch, one mistake, and it cost us,” said Westbrook, who allowed a solo homer to Erubiel Durazo in the second inning for the game’s only run. “I threw the ball well and got out of some jams. … (Zito) pitched a great game and kept us off balance.”
Sabathia allowed five runs and six hits in five innings—a respectable line but not the one he or the Indians need from him.
The two-time All-Star said he’s fine physically, but for whatever reason, there have been times this season when he can’t get a big out.
For Sabathia, the only consolation is that the Indians are playing out the season and not fighting to extend it into October.
“I keep thinking, ‘What if we were in a race right now, and you got a guy supposed to be your ace pitching like this?’ If this team is going to get better, I’m going to have to pitch a lot better than that,” he said.
Westbrook will face off against a Royals lineup that has not scored in 19 innings, coming off back-to-back shutout losses to the New York Yankees.
The Royals managed only four hits and struck out 10 times in a 3-0 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday. Kansas City was held to three hits in a 4-0 loss to New York on Tuesday.
The Royals are beginning a 10-game road trip.