CC Sabathia has done everything asked of him since the Milwaukee Brewers acquired him in July. They now need him to be a streak stopper Wednesday afternoon when the Brewers try to avoid a three-game home sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds.
Sabathia (9-0, 1.42 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.88 in seven starts at Miller Park since the Brewers (82-63) pulled the trigger on the first blockbuster trade of 2008. He was in line for a win Friday against San Diego after limiting the Padres to one run in seven innings, but the bullpen faltered before the Brewers eventually won 3-2 in 11 innings.
Milwaukee has lost three in a row overall after Tuesday’s 5-4, 11-inning loss, continuing its year-long home struggles against Cincinnati (66-79). The Brewers are 2-6 at Miller Park versus the Reds, batting just .189 and getting outscored 44-26 in those games.
Sabathia has beaten the Reds twice this season—once with the Indians and has one of Milwaukee’s two home wins against them. The left-hander has limited Cincinnati to two runs in 17 innings while striking out 20, improving to 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA in nine lifetime starts.
The Brewers are 2-7 as they wrap up their 10-game homestand and a key reason has been a lack of power from their star hitters. Milwaukee his hitting .216 with seven homers on the homestand—none by Ryan Braun (34 HRs), Prince Fielder (28), Mike Cameron (24) and Corey Hart (20), and the quartet is batting a combined .194 (24-for-124) with six RBIs in those nine games.
“Obviously, you want to do well all the time, but you notice it more now because of what our situation is,” Hart told the Brewers’ official Web site prior to Tuesday’s game. “Other guys have to kind of fill in when us guys in the middle aren’t doing it… we’re going to have to figure something out soon.”
Milwaukee trails Chicago by 4 1/2 games in the NL Central and leads the wild-card race by three games over Philadelphia.
It was a bittersweet victory for the Reds, as Brandon Phillips suffered a broken right index finger attempting to bunt two pitches before delivering the go-ahead RBI single in the 11th. He was to return to Cincinnati for X-rays, and it is uncertain if he will return this season.
“That’s really a bad break for us. He’s really one of the leaders of the team,” Reds center fielder Corey Patterson said. “I don’t know if he’s going to be able to come back the rest of this year or not. I doubt it from what I’m hearing.”
Bronson Arroyo (14-10, 4.84) has been Cincinnati’s best pitcher of late and sets out to match a season high by winning his fifth straight start. He has a 1.53 ERA during his win streak and limited the Chicago Cubs to one run in 6 1-3 innings of a 10-2 victory Friday.
Arroyo, who reeled off five wins in as many starts from June 29-July 23, has split two starts against Milwaukee this season but will be making his first appearance in Miller Park in 2008. The right-hander defeated the Brewers on Aug. 4, yielding one run in six innings in a 6-3 victory to improve to 7-4 in 11 starts and 14 lifetime appearances versus Milwaukee.