Have you ever rushed through a project and been told to slow down? It may seem like a simple concept, but it always needs to be said. When required to perform, it is not uncommon for people to rush through the motions, and deter themselves from doing excellent work.
The more I have watched C.C. pitch this year, the more obvious it becomes to me that he pressing in every facet of his game. I'm not quite sure what Carl Willis is being paid for; anyone with two eyes can see that it's all in Sabathia's head. The only way that he will break out of this slump is to consider the following advice: SLOW DOWN!
One doesn't have to look far to see signs of C.C.'s struggles thus far. His best start of the season came on opening day, when Sabathia gave up five runs and six hits in 5.1 innings. He was lucky to escape with a no decision.
In his last three outings, all losses, C.C. has surrendered an astounding 22 runs in only 12.2 innings. Needless to say, that is not something we should expect from the reigning AL Cy Young winner.
What really worries me is the amount of free passes he has given up in four starts. In just 18 innings Sabathia has allowed 14 walks. While he has struggled with command at certain points in his career, he only walked 37 batters in 2007—in a total of 241 innings. Here we are, a mere three weeks into the 2008 campaign, and C.C.'s walk total is already at 14. Something ain't right.
Of course, it's easy for me to sit here and frown upon Sabathia's numbers in this young season. I did, however, pitch in high school and I realize that all pitchers go through slumps at some point in their careers.
I distinctly remember my baseball coach visiting the mound when I found myself in a jam. He would walk out, look me in the eyes and tell me, "slow down." He then proceeded to walk back to the dugout without uttering another word. It may sound too simple, but in reality it's one of the most helpful pieces of advice.
I really do not believe that anything is physically wrong with C.C. His velocity is just fine, and his throwing motion seems normal. The results, however, are not there. His fastballs are up and catching too much of the plate. While Sabathia is a hard thrower, anyone in the bigs can rip a mid-90s fastballs that is up around the belt and right down the pipe.
Also, his breaking balls are flat and not the least bit enticing to hitters. Why does it seem like he is throwing batting practice?
It's simple—he is overthrowing the baseball.
Being able to watch him last summer was such a treat. He has always had good velocity, but it seemed that his fastball was a few mph slower because he was spotting it so well. Beyond that, his off-speed stuff was just filthy. It was quite a potent combination that kept hitters on their toes through the dog days of summer.
C.C.—do you want to regain that 2007 form? SLOW DOWN!
Just take a few moments to breathe when you're on the hill. The fastball will come back down to the knees, and the breaking stuff will have hitters flailing away.
I realize it's a contract year, and there is the added pressure of being the ace of the Indians' staff, but you gotta slow down. When you relax and clear your head, you are one of the best pitchers in the game. All you have to do is take a deep breath, stop overthrowing the ball, and let your game do the talking. Trust me—you'll have hitters shaking their heads on the way back to the dugout in no time.