While the move largely went ignored amid perhaps the craziest trade deadline ever, the Pirates’ acquisition of J.A. Happ continues to pay off big.
Happ struck out eight batters and allowed just three hits and no walks over seven scoreless innings last night in a 4-1 victory over the first-place Cardinals. The southpaw gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings in his first start with Pittsburgh on August 4 before getting an extended break. He has posted a 0.60 ERA in five starts since and hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in any of them. His secondary numbers back up his success, as he has a 26/5 K/BB ratio in 30 innings during that span.
Happ actually got off to a strong start this year with the Mariners before hitting a rough patch. According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the southpaw said that the focus has been on getting him back to what made him successful in the past.
“I felt like as we broke this year I felt real good about kind of where I was at overall,” Happ said. “Over time things change slowly. You maybe form a bad habit or two. So it’s just trying to get back to that kind of pitcher.”
Returning to the National League for a team in a playoff race has surely helped matters, but we could be looking at the next major success story for Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage.
After slugging two home runs in back-to-back games, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez only hit one last night. He’s slipping.
You really need to watch the sequence of his first-inning homer last night. CarGo came close to a home run with a fly ball along the right field foul pole, but the ball was ruled foul and the call was confirmed by replay review. He then took Chris Heston deep on the very next pitch. And there was no doubt about this one.
Gonzalez had just four home runs in 49 games going into June 6. He has 32 home runs in 77 games since.
It wasn’t too long ago that it looked like CC Sabathia could miss the rest of the season due to his arthritic right knee, but Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports that the veteran southpaw is on track to return from the disabled list Wednesday to start against the Orioles.
Sabathia, who has been out since August 23, said that he felt “great” after throwing 60 pitches over four innings in a simulated game Friday at Yankee Stadium. In an effort to stay on the field, he’s now wearing a brace on his knee as opposed to an athletic sleeve.
Whether Sabathia’s return will actually help the Yankees is another matter altogether. The 35-year-old has struggled with a 5.27 ERA over 24 starts this season while giving up 26 home runs in 138 1/3 innings. As was the plan prior to the knee injury, the Yankees plan to utilize a six-man rotation upon his return.