Cleveland Indians left-hander C.C. Sabathia tries to recapture the form that made him one of baseball’s hottest pitchers in May when the Indians open a three-game interleague series with the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night at Miller Park.
Sabathia (5-2, 2.62 ERA) returned from an April stint on the disabled list to go 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA in six May starts.
June has been a different story, as the left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two outings. Sabathia had a personal three-game winning streak stopped in a 14-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on June 4 in which he allowed seven runs in five innings. He pitched better last Saturday at the Chicago White Sox, giving up one run and four hits in six innings, but didn’t get a decision in Cleveland’s 4-3, 11-inning loss.
Control problems have plagued Sabathia recently, as he has issued seven walks in 11 innings over his last two starts.
Sabathia did not receive a decision in his only career start against the Brewers as a rookie on June 12, 2001. He pitched well, limiting Milwaukee to two runs and three hits in seven innings.
The Indians (31-34) are just 2-4 on their current nine-game road trip, but look to carry momentum into Milwaukee from an 8-4 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday.
Seldom-used outfielder Todd Hollandsworth busted out of an 0-for-19 slump with a 2-for-5 effort and four RBIs, and shortstop Jhonny Peralta went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored to end an 0-for-17 slide.
“The opportunity is there to get some playing time,” said Hollandsworth, a 12-year veteran who has 19 strikeouts in just 60 at-bats this season. “I come to the yard ready to play everyday.”
Left-hander Chris Capuano (6-4, 3.35) gets the call for the Brewers to face Sabathia. Capuano has registered quality starts in 13 of his 14 outings this season, but owns just a 2-2 record since the start of May.
The left-hander allowed three runs in seven innings while scattering nine hits against St. Louis last Saturday, but did not record a decision in Milwaukee’s 4-3 victory.
“It just seemed like every hit was finding a hole,” Capuano said. “It was frustrating early.”
Milwaukee (32-35) has won three of its last five games after taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers lost the series finale 3-0 in 11 innings on Wednesday, their fourth shutout defeat of the season.
Milwaukee had six hits and two walks in the contest off Reds starter Elizardo Ramirez and two relievers, but went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight baserunners.
“We had our opportunities,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “We just couldn’t get the hits.”
This is the first series between the Indians and Brewers since the 2001 season.