Milwaukee manager Ned Yost appears to have a plan to make sure CC Sabathia stays healthy while trying to carry the Brewers into the postseason.
Sabathia tries to remain perfect for the Brewers as they look for a fourth straight victory and a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park on Sunday afternoon.
Sabathia (8-0, 1.60 ERA) allowed two earned runs and 11 hits in a 9-3 win over Houston on Monday for his fifth complete game in nine starts since being traded to Milwaukee (75-55) from Cleveland on July 7.
While Sabathia continues to dominate with his new club and garner some serious Cy Young Award consideration, he threw 130 pitches in his most recent victory, prompting some to criticize Yost for leaving him in.
Yost, though, has decided to keep every member of the rotation on their regular turn, which could allow for extra days rest. Sabathia will make this start on five days’ rest and the next scheduled appearance on seven days’ rest.
“CC has thrown an average of 13.7 pitches per inning,” Yost told the Brewers official Web site. “Where guys get in trouble is the 20, 25 and 30-pitch innings. CC has none of those. We set up the rotation for CC and Benny (Sheets) to have those types of night.”
The left-hander, who also went 2-for-3 with two RBIs on Monday and is 6-for-23 at the plate for the Brewers, has yet to show any signs of fatigue.
“When you’re out there, you don’t really feel like you’re tired or anything like that,” said Sabathia, who is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts versus Pittsburgh and looks to become the first pitcher to switch teams in-season and win his first nine starts since Detroit’s Doyle Alexander in 1987.
On Saturday, Ryan Braun homered and had three RBIs for Milwaukee, which improved to 7-1 against the Pirates (57-72) this season. The victory also increased the Brewers’ lead in the NL wild-card race to 3 1/2 games over St. Louis.
Milwaukee, which is 20 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 1992 season in the AL East, has won 11 straight at home against Pittsburgh.
Braun is 4-for-9 with a homer, two doubles and four RBIs in the first two games of the set after missing nine of his previous 12 contests with lingering back tightness.
“I felt good out there,” Braun said. “I am able to swing without any pain.”
The All-Star is batting .412 (14-for-34) with two homers and seven RBIs versus the Pirates in 2008 and is 3-for-6 lifetime against Pittsburgh’s Sunday starter Paul Maholm.
Maholm (8-7, 3.64) didn’t factor in the decision of his most recent start where he allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings of a 5-2 win over the New York Mets on Monday.
“I’m confident to where I can make my pitches and I can get ground balls and a strikeout if I need to,” Maholm told the Pirates’ official Web site.
The left-hander is 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA in seven starts versus Milwaukee and 0-1 in two outings this season.
Adam LaRoche went 2-for-4 with a homer Saturday for Pittsburgh, which has lost three in a row and seven of nine. He is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with two home runs versus Milwaukee this season.