Last night, CC Sabathia showed the Yankees and their fans exactly what he was capable of. After a month of starts that were nothing more than adequete, Sabathia shutout the Orioles in impressive fashion, retiring twenty-three of twenty-four at one point. He recorded the final three outs in the ninth on strikeouts, then followed it up with a roar that announced to everyone that the real CC Sabathia had finally arrived.
But what made Sabathia so much more effective last night than his Opening Day assignment? Since both starts were in Baltimore, we can take a look at Sabathia’s stuff through Pitch f/x without having to worry about slight differences in the PFX cameras. Let’s start off with Sabathia’s pitch selection (remember to click on any graph in this post for a larger view):
The two outings are similar, except that Sabathia broke out the changeup more often last night. Back in April he was basically a two pitch pitcher, throwing either his fastball or slider 87% of the time. That dropped to 80.3% last night. Half of Sabathia’s eight strikesouts came on changeups, evidence that the pitch was keeping O’s hitters off balance.
After the jump, we’ll take a quick look at Sabathia’s individual pitches.