So that was one hell of a face-off between CC Sabathia and Manny Machado in the fifth inning last night. And I know, I know, Sabathia hit the next batter, had to be taken out, and the bullpen and defense blew the game, but that at bat against Machado was one of CC's best of the season and I thought it was worth taking a second look.
Shall we get started?
Let's set the scene. The Yankees are up 3-1, the Orioles have runners on second and third with only one out, and Sabathia is trying to avoid one of his "one bad innings" that he's been infamous for this season.
CC started the at bat throwing a 79 mph slider that Machado laid off for a ball outside. He then followed that up with a 90 mph sinker that was also off the plate for ball two.
2-0 on Machado was not a good start.
Pitch #3 of the at bat was a 91.6 mph four seam fastball on the outer corner for called strike one. Pitch #4 was another four seamer at 91.5 mph that Machado swung through.
Pitch #5 was yet another four seamer that was high and would have more than likely been called ball 3 but Machado fouled it off. For pitch #6, Sabathia broke out the changeup on the outside and Machado fouled that one off as well.
And for the final pitch of the at bat, Sabathia decided to (or McCann told him to) go with the changeup again, and this time Machado swung through it for strike three.
Here's how the change in velocity looked in graph form.
Note that the sinker and four seamers were close in velocity and that both changeups were nearly identical in velocity but, as you will see in the strike zone plot, not in location. Similar though.
Here's how the pitches look from Brian McCann's point of view. Note how much better the changeup in pitch #7 dropped. Machado had no chance.
And here's how the at bat looked from Sabathia's point of view.
I realize that looking back at this at bat isn't as exciting this morning with the final result of the game being what it was, but it was still a good job by CC to get a tough hitter out in a key spot. Too bad it was all shot to hell when he hit Chris Davis in the next at bat.
[Numbers and graphs courtesy of Brooks Baseball, heat map courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info]