Buster Olney says that CC Sabathia has lost 30 pounds this winter. To which I say: wow.
Still, I’m not going to slap with this with “best shape of his life” for a couple of reasons. Most directly, because I remember when CC was a young Cleveland Indian, and it would probably take more than a 30 pound loss for him to truly be in the best shape of his life.
But more to the point: Sabathia is one of the few guys in baseball who probably didn’t have a big need to lose weight. Oh, this will help — his knee is getting wonky and the less weight on it the better — but if it weren’t for that, he could probably do fine with some extra poundage. So much of Sabathia’s weight is below his waist, and that provides him with some serious stumps for planting.
Or not. Maybe someone who knows a lick about physical fitness and pitching mechanics can tell me I’m wrong. It just seems that Sabathia has had less of a struggle with stamina or any of the other problems one would think being big would cause than most big guys do. Indeed, he’s had more stamina than most pitchers in the game.
Either way, though, good for him for dropping some pounds.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.