CC Sabathia struggled through the first few innings last night, and he said it was because of his fastball command. But when he was asked how crucial Chris Stewart was in getting things turned, Sabathia said this:
“He’s huge. He’s back there calling the pitches and the first few innings I didn’t have my changeup, and he still called it. We got some outs with it and that makes a big difference.”
The changeup is a key pitch for Sabathia, and it’s been so pivotal in his career, that he can fix his mechanics by throwing it more often. He knows exactly how it’s supposed to feel, and if he throws it a few times, his delivery gets lined up properly.
“That’s his go-to pitch,” Stewart said. “That’s what gets his fastball back in the zone if his fastball’s not where it needs to be. That’s his bread and butter, and we’re going to keep calling it until he gets to where he needs to be. Everything works off of that. If he’s throwing the changeup right, his fastball is where it needs to be and we’re able to go from there.”
Sabathia said it wasn’t until his last couple years in Cleveland that he was able to make those sort of in-game adjustments and keep a shaky first few innings from blowing up into a terrible start.
“Before that, if I was all over the place early in the game, it was probably going to be a bad game,” he said.
Today, he’s able to make adjustments. He’s able to settle in. He’s able to have a game like last night, one that looked bad early and ended with a win.
“If I’m seeing something, I want him to correct right away, so I’m going to let him know if he’s not doing something,” Stewart said. “The case was, he was cutting the ball across the zone. We just had to get him back on top. His changeup is kind of the pitch that gets him back in that mode, and we were able to call a couple and then the fastball was back where it needed to be. … Obviously his best stuff wasn’t there, but he found a way to get it going. He was just kind of waiting for it to happen, and once it did, it was nice.”
Associated Press photo