Sabathia looks to remain perfect with his new club while trying to help the visiting Brewers complete their third straight series sweep of the struggling Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
Sabathia (8-0, 1.59 ERA) allowed a run and eight hits in a 4-2, 12-inning victory over Pittsburgh last Sunday. He only lasted six innings, however, matching his shortest outing since going six in his Milwaukee debut—a 7-3 win over Colorado on July 8.
While Sabathia felt his command was lacking, he didn’t believe it had anything to do with him throwing 130 pitches in his previous start on Aug. 18. Though, maybe going on an extra days’ rest did contribute to him not factoring in a decision for the second time in 10 starts with Milwaukee.
“I think maybe having (five) days off had more to do with it than anything,” Sabathia told the Brewers’ official Web site. “But I felt I made some pitches when I needed to, and I kept us in the game.”
The left-hander has performed well against Pittsburgh, going 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates.
The Brewers (79-56) continued their own dominance over the Pirates after winning 11-3 on Saturday for their eighth consecutive win over the Pirates (57-58), who have lost nine straight overall and 13 of 15. Milwaukee has outscored Pittsburgh 71-33 in going 10-1 during the season series.
The Brewers moved within 5 1/2 games of NL Central-leading Chicago, which lost to Philadelphia earlier Saturday, and also extended their lead to 5 1/2 games over St. Louis and the Phillies in the wild-card race.
“We’re playing good baseball right now,” Cameron said. “The most important thing at this point in the season is to continue to find ways to play well. You’ve got to play tough every day. We’re doing that right now.”
Cameron is 10-for-19 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last five contests and hitting .405 (17-for-42) with five home runs and 11 RBIs against Pittsburgh in 2008.
Hardy, meanwhile, is batting .400 (24-for-60) with 13 RBIs over his last 14 games and .455 (20-for-44) with four home runs and 11 RBIs against Pittsburgh in 2008.
On Sunday, Jeff Karstens (2-3, 3.48) makes his first start against Milwaukee and hopes to bounce back from his worst outing in five appearances since being traded to Pittsburgh from the New York Yankees.
The right-hander allowed five runs and six hits in three innings of a 12-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday to drop to 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts—all at PNC Park.
“I didn’t throw strikes and, when I did, they hit them,” Karstens said.
Brandon Moss went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer for Pittsburgh, which has not lost 10 in a row since dropping 13 straight from June 15-June 28, 2006. Moss has five home runs and 10 RBIs in 25 games since being traded from Boston to Pittsburgh.