Sabathia looks to continue his dominance of the NL and help the Brewers snap a four-game slide when they continue their four-game home series against the last-place San Diego Padres on Friday night.
The Brewers (80-60) lead the NL wild-card race by four games over Philadelphia, and Sabathia (9-0, 1.43 ERA) has been a big reason why. He has six complete games in 11 starts since Milwaukee acquired him from Cleveland on July 7 in a blockbuster five-player trade.
“The Sabathia investment feels pretty good right now. I think he’s been a huge boost for the team, not only on the field but in the clubhouse,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. “He’s just really just a great guy.”
Sabathia, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, went the distance again Sunday, throwing a one-hitter while tying his season high with 11 strikeouts in a 7-0 win at Pittsburgh.
The lone hit Sabathia allowed came on a check-swing single back to the left-hander, who attempted to bare-hand the grounder only to misplay it. The play was ruled a hit, much to the dismay of the Brewers, who appealed to a scoring review committee to have it changed to an error and give Sabathia his first no-hitter. The committee upheld the original ruling Wednesday.
“It’s over,” said Sabathia, who won his second straight NL pitcher of the month award this week. “If I make the play, there’s no debate. So, it’s just one of those deals. My own fault, so there’s nobody to blame but me. Hopefully I get in a position to try and do that again one day. We won the game, we got a sweep. That was the most important thing.”
Milwaukee hasn’t won since Sabathia’s one-hitter, getting swept in three games by NL East-leading New York before falling 5-2 to San Diego on Thursday in the opener of this series.
Last year, the Brewers squandered an 8 1/2-game lead in the NL Central and missed the playoffs.
“I’m sure everyone knows the circumstance, where we are, whatever, but it don’t matter if you don’t play good baseball,” Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron said.
“Keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing until whenever, Sept. 28 or whatever it is. Then you look up and see where you’re at. I would think everyone here knows that this is a pretty damn good baseball team.
The Padres (54-86) are looking to build on Thursday’s victory, which snapped a three-game skid.
Josh Geer (1-0, 3.60), one of the organization’s top prospects, makes his second career major-league start.
The rookie right-hander’s debut began in shaky fashion Saturday, as he gave up hits to the first two batters. Geer got out of that jam, though, and wound up with two runs and five hits allowed in five innings of a 9-4 victory over Colorado.
“There’s a great confidence with the way he carried himself in the first inning,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “That was a great sign.”