After dominating opposing batters for a month, Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia got off to a rough start in his first June outing.
Sabathia looks to bounce back from his worst outing of the season when the Indians continue their three-game series with the Chicago White Sox Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sabathia (5-2, 2.75 ERA) allowed season highs of seven runs, eight hits and three homers in five innings of Sunday’s 14-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The start was his first since going 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 45 innings in six May starts, a run that earned him American League pitcher of the month honors. Sabathia had also won three straight starts, including back-to-back complete games May 19 and 24.
“I let the team down,” said Sabathia, who spent most of April on the disabled list with an abdominal strain he suffered in an Opening Day start. “It’s frustrating. I tried to go out and win a series and had a performance like that.”
Before Sunday’s outing, Sabathia had gone 14-2 with a 2.04 ERA since Aug. 5 of last season. The start was his worst since giving up eight runs in just 2 1-3 innings of a July 25 loss at Oakland.
“You look back to last year, C.C. has been as good as a starting pitcher can be,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “He was just missing, but more towards the middle of the plate.”
Sabathia is 10-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 17 career starts against the White Sox, including 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in three starts this season.
All three of the starts this year have come against Mark Buehrle, who is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in those outings and will face Sabathia again on Saturday.
Buehrle (6-4, 3.31) lost his second straight start on Sunday, allowing six runs and nine hits in seven innings of a 10-2 defeat to the Texas Rangers. He is 7-9 with a 4.59 ERA in 23 career appearances, including 22 starts, against the Indians.
“I’m frustrated with myself,” said Buehrle, who dropped to 4-1 at home. “The last couple of games, I haven’t done a good job for the team.”
The White Sox (37-23) beat the Indians 5-4 in Friday’s series opener, moving within a half-game of major league-leading Detroit in the AL Central. Jermaine Dye hit a solo homer and had a go-ahead two-run single for Chicago, which took two of three from the Tigers heading into this series.
Dye, last year’s World Series MVP, has reached base in 17 straight games and is batting .350 (21-for-60) in that stretch. He has seven homers and 12 RBIs in his last 11 games.
Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer for the Indians (29-31), who have dropped four of five. Grady Sizemore added three hits and scored two runs, and Ben Broussard extended his hitting streak to eight games with two singles.
Cleveland designated reliever Scott Sauerbeck for assignment on Friday, 10 days after he was arrested and accused of fleeing police along with a woman charged with driving his car while drunk. However, manager Eric Wedge said the move was “strictly performance-related.”
Sauerbeck went 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in 24 appearances.