The Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a monster deal back in 2009 to win games like Sunday’s ALDS Game 1 against the Orioles, and the big left-hander didn’t disappoint.
Sabathia came within one out of his first career postseason complete game, allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out seven over 8 2/3 frames. The workhorse threw 120 pitches, with 80 of them going for strikes.
The game was hanging in the balance heading into the ninth inning, when O’s manager Buck Showalter called upon closer Jim Johnson in a tie game. Johnson had a rare blowup, serving up the go-head homer to Russell Martin before allowing the Yanks to tack on an additional four runs while recording only one out.
That wasn’t the only big pitching performance that went down Sunday evening, as Bronson Arroyo twirled a gem in San Francisco to allow the Reds to take a commanding 2-0 lead back to Cincinnati. Arroyo allowed a two-out single to Brandon Belt in the fifth and a two-out walk to Buster Posey in the seventh, and that was it. The junkballer struck out four on the night before turning it over to the Reds’ bullpen, which shut the Giants down over the final two frames. San Fran scored just two runs in the two games at home against Reds pitching.
But, while the Reds look to be well on their way to earning an NLCS berth, the status of their ace remains in question. Johnny Cueto left Game 1 against the Giants after just one batter due to back spasms. He had been hoping to get the ball in Game 3, but the Reds will go with Homer Bailey instead.
Cueto says that he feels better and thinks he can return during the NLDS, but he’s yet to test out his back by throwing from a mound. Ideally, the Reds are probably hoping to wrap up the NLDS soon and get Cueto some extra rest before possibly having him ready for Game 1 of the NLCS. In a worst-case scenario, if Cueto doesn’t recover as hoped, the Reds could replace him on the roster with Mike Leake and use Arroyo, Mat Latos and Bailey as their top three starters.
Kemp’s Shoulder Worse Than Expected
When Dr. Neal ElAttrache cut Matt Kemp’s left shoulder open last Friday, he and the Dodgers were hoping to find that the outfielder only needed arthroscopic surgery. The damage turned out to be worse than that.
ElAttrache had to repair Kemp’s labrum, reattaching it to the socket. Such a procedure will require a few months of down time, as Kemp will begin physical therapy soon but won’t be allowed to swing a bat until January. Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone anticipates that Kemp will have “a fairly normal spring training” and be ready to go at the beginning of the regular season.
While that will probably be the case, what the Dodgers don’t know is how the operation will affect Kemp’s production, and, more specifically, his power, at least in the early going. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez had a similar procedure back in October of 2010, and his power was slow to come around initially.
"I didn't have a lot of power in April, but I got hits and everything," Gonzalez said in the Los Angeles Times. "Once May rolled around, I felt pretty good."
Kemp should still be a sure-fire first-round draft pick in fantasy leagues next spring. However, the uncertainty with his shoulder will undoubtedly be enough to knock him back a few spots.
National League Quick Hits: Jim Tracy resigned as Rockies manager on Sunday following a franchise-worst 64 wins this season. Tracy had signed an extension with the Rockies last offseason, but it only guaranteed his 2013 salary. He finishes with a 294-308 record over four seasons ... A.J. Ellis underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday. He’ll rehab for six weeks but is expected to have a relatively normal offseason ... The Diamondbacks are expected to exercise J.J. Putz’s $6.5 million option for 2013. Though he did have some ups and downs, Putz ultimately finished with great numbers in 2012, posting a 2.82 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 65/11 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings ... Jake Westbrook (oblique) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session Sunday. It’s unlikely that the Cardinals would view him as a candidate for the rotation at this point, but it’s possible he could be added to the roster as a long man if the team advances ... Brian McCann expects to have shoulder surgery over the offseason, which would sideline him for up to five months. The Braves, though, aren’t sure that he needs it. A decision on the catcher should be made pretty soon ... The Marlins reportedly could shop Josh Johnson this winter as they continue their rebuilding efforts. Johnson is set to earn $13.75 million next season before hitting free agency.
American League Quick Hits: Terry Francona was introduced as the Indians’ new manager Monday. The former Red Sox skipper got a fully guaranteed four-year deal and said that negotiations with the club went very smoothly. Tito noted that every Indians player “starts with a clean slate.” ... Andy Pettitte has indicated that he will likely return to play again in 2013. The left-hander will turn 41 next June but put up a 2.87 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 12 starts during the regular season. It’s not clear if he would be willing to play anywhere other than New York, but the Yankees seem likely to give him another one-year deal if he does decide to return ... White Sox general manager Kenny Williams hasn’t ruled out picking up Brett Myers’ $10 million option for 2013 and shifting the righty to the rotation. Myers posted a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 35 relief outings with the Sox after coming over from Houston ... Nick Markakis will have the pins removed from his surgically-repaired left thumb Monday but will still have to keep his splint on for another week or two. The earliest he could return is probably the World Series, should the Orioles make it ... The Royals haven’t ruled out re-signing Jeremy Guthrie before he hits free agency. The club plans to add a couple starters this offseason, with Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse reportedly on their radar.