The Boston Red Sox hitters' faces must have lit up with excitement at the prospect of facing New York Yankees starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia on Saturday. They have had an incredible amount of success against Sabathia, and Saturday's contest proved to be no exception to the rule. Scoring five earned runs off of Sabathia's offerings en route to a 5-1 victory was simply a continuation of previous performances.
Including yesterday's contest, Sabathia has pitched to a 7.22 ERA when having to throw to Red Sox hitters this season. Factoring in the number of earned runs (23) Sabathia has given up along with the number of innings he has lasted (28.7) and the Boston Red Sox are the team against whom he has struggled the most this season.
Sabathia's inability to quiet the bats of the Red Sox was on full display during Saturday's game where the Red Sox were able to post a .429 batting average on balls in play, racking up hit after hit. Since the Red Sox also drew four walks when Sabathia was in the game, they were able to put 13 out of 30 batters on base, of which five crossed home plate. In multiple ways for the Red Sox hitters, facing Sabathia for 6.0 innings was just a glorified form of batting practice.
The Red Sox offense's continued domination of Sabathia was not the only trend that was extended during the contest. Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester was at the top of his game yet again as he has been so often in the second half of the season.
Lester pitched 8.0 innings for the second straight start against the Yankees and outdid his previous performance, holding the Yankees to an anemic .136 batting average on balls in play and conceding just one earned run. Lester also did a great job of limiting the damage when the Yankees did start to construct a rally. In the five at-bats the Yankees had with runners in scoring position, Lester kept them hitless, with the only Yankee run being scored off a ground out.
There was very little in Lester's start to quibble with, which was reflected in the .296 win probability added his pitching earned him.
Once again, the Red Sox earned a textbook victory, riding strong starting pitching along with run-producing offense. The postseason cannot come quickly enough for this club that is currently hitting on all cylinders.