Sox have chance to snap lefty skid vs. Sabathia

Sox have chance to snap lefty skid vs. Sabathia
August 18, 2013, 8:30 pm
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BOSTON -- The Red Sox have been struggling against left-handed pitchers lately, but they have a chance to get on track tonight against Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia.

The big Yankees lefty has struggled against the Red Sox over the last few years and is in the middle of one of the worst statistical seasons of his career.

In 25 starts, he is 10-10 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.325 WHIP. Going into a July 21 start at Fenway, he had a 5.44 ERA pitching on the road against the Red Sox as a member of the Yankees. That night, he pitched five innings, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks and the Red Sox won, 8-7.

John Farrell, who has had a chance to see a great deal of Sabathia in the AL East since Sabathia joined the Yankees in 2009. As pitching coach for the Red Sox, manager of the Blue Jays, and now manager of the Red Sox, Farrell has witnessed from afar Sabathia go from one of the league's elite left-handed arms to a 33-year-old veteran with diminished stuff.

"With any veteran guy there are adjustments that are required to be made as they go deep into their career," Farrell explained. "He might not be that upper-90s guy that he once was and what kind of effect that might have on the reaction, particularly to his slider. He's become a little bit more fastball-changeup oriented, and a late-breaking slider that he's had. But those are all the normal adjustments and how a pitcher evolves as he goes through the course of an entire career."

Sabathia has already allowed a career-worst 26 home runs this season. And after elbow surgery last offseason, his fastball velocity is down from 92.3 mph in 2012 to 90.9 mph this year, according to Newsday.

The Red Sox are 2-6 in their last eight games against lefty starters.  They've been beaten by Tampa Bay's David Price (twice) and Matt Moore, Houston's Brett Olberholtzer, Kansas City's Bruce Chen and Toronto's Mark Buerhle. But if recent history is any indication, they could snap their skid against lefties on Sunday with Sabathia on the mound.