CC Sabathia (3-4, 5.75 ERA) returns to Milwaukee after leading the Brewers to the playoffs in 2008. He will be taking on Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.72 ERA) in game two. Sabathia returns to Milwaukee searching for answers after he gave up five runs on 10 hits in just 3 2/3 innings against the Rays on May 4. He blamed the terrible outing on an ineffective changeup and wild fastball.
Lohse came away with a no decision in his last start against the Reds when he allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings. He holds a career 1-3 record against the Yanks with a 5.46 ERA over five starts.
This season may be about Derek Jeter, but to Brewers fans, this game is about Sabathia. Sabathia’s time in Milwaukee was brief, having been picked up at the trade deadline, but what he did for that team, and city, in 2008 are still in those fans’ minds. With free agency approaching, Sabathia risked it all, insisting that he would make his last three starts of the season on three days rest to help the Brewers lock up the National League Wild Card.
He went 11-2 with a miniscule 1.65 ERA in 17 starts, striking out 128 batters in 130 2/3 innings while leading Milwaukee to its first postseason appearance since 1982. In just a half season, Sabathia led the NL with seven complete games and three shutouts. “I felt like every time I went out when I was here, I was going to win the game,” Sabathia said.
Sabathia won two of those last three starts with just a 0.83 ERA. Today’s start will be his first at Miller Park since September 28, 2008, when he pitched the Brewers to a 3-1 victory over the Cubs, helped by Ryan Braun‘s two run homer in the eighth inning. The Mets lost later that day to the Marlins, clinching the Wild Card for Milwaukee. “That’s one of the games I still remember that sticks out the most,” Sabathia said. “I just remember Braunie hitting the home run. Him coming up to me and saying, ‘If I get you a run right here, is the game over?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, the game’s over,’ and he went up and hit a homer. That was crazy. I think we felt like we were going to win at that point, no matter what the Mets did. If we were going to have to go play them the next day in New York, I think we would have won that game too.”
If you ask Braun, Sabathia’s time in Milwaukee was the best half season of baseball in franchise history. “Especially doing it on short rest so many times,” Braun said. “Considering where he was at in service time, how close he was in free agency, how little time he’d spent here, for him to assume that risk and do what he did for us was incredibly special. Incredibly rare. Something I’m sure none of the fans here will ever forget. As players, it’s something we’ll never forget, either.”
Notes on the game
Sabathia has allowed at least four runs in five of his starts.
Shawn Kelley had an MRI on his stiff lower back. He said that the tests revealed no disk issues and he is hoping to be ready to pitch if needed on Saturday.
Jeter is the all time hits leader in Interleague Play with 347. He is 32-99 (.323) lifetime against the Brewers, including 22-64 in 17 games at Miller Park.
First pitch at 7:10 PM on Yes