Sabathia looks to extend his career-best winning streak to 10 games and lead the Brewers to their eighth straight victory when they continue their three-game series with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
Milwaukee acquired Sabathia (6-0, 1.58 ERA) from Cleveland in early July in an effort to help the franchise reach the postseason for the first time since 1982. Since Sabathia’s first start with his new club July 8, the Brewers have the third-best record in the majors at 20-11.
That’s been due in large part to the big left-hander, who threw a five-hitter and struck out nine in Friday’s 5-0 win over Washington for his fourth shutout of the season. Although he’s made just seven starts with Milwaukee, Sabathia is tied with teammate Ben Sheets for the league lead with four complete games.
In 57 innings for the Brewers (69-51), Sabathia has given up 40 hits and 12 walks with 52 strikeouts.
“I knew he was good,” Yost said. “I don’t sit there in my office and dream he’s going to go 7-0 or 6-0, whatever. He’s just been almost unhittable, or unscorable, since he’s been here.”
The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner has won nine straight decisions dating to his time with the Indians, not losing since June 5.
Sabathia has won all three of his road starts with the Brewers, posting a 1.03 ERA in those outings. This will be his first career start at Petco Park.
He faced the Padres on June 15 while with Cleveland and gave up three runs while striking out 10 in eight innings of a 7-3 win. In his only other start against San Diego on June 11, 2003, Sabathia allowed two runs in 7 2-3 innings to earn a 3-2 victory.
Second-place Milwaukee defeated the Padres 5-2 on Tuesday to pull within three games of NL Central-leading Chicago. The Brewers, who lost seven of nine before this seven-game win streak, also increased their wild-card lead to four games over St. Louis.
Milwaukee, which won a season-high eight straight from July 13-24, has outscored opponents 42-11 during its current run. Brewers starting pitchers have a 2.01 ERA in 11 games this month.
“The starters’ success will let you play a long time,” Cameron said. “Keep playing well now, and then get an opportunity to play into the late fall.”
The Brewers improved to a major league-best 12-2 on the road since the All-Star break on Tuesday, while the Padres dropped to a major league-worst 4-17 at home since June 21.
San Diego’s Jody Gerut continued his recent turnaround by hitting his 12th home run of the season. He’s batting .326 with six home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games after hitting two homers in his previous 22 contests.
Josh Banks (3-4, 3.77) takes the ball for the Padres on Wednesday for his first career start against the Brewers.
Banks allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings of a 5-3 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday, but did not factor in the decision. The right-hander, who has one win in his last 10 starts, has a 3.00 ERA in his last two but received only two total runs of support in those games.