This past offseason I penned a piece here on Walkoff Walk highlighting some fine young left-handed pitchers figuring to feature prominently in some mid-level teams successes. It turned out to be slightly prophetic as nearly all the players are making significant strides and contributions. The future is certainly bright for this collection of arms.
The future is now for the Yankees and White Sox and their match up this afternoon highlights a pair of southpaws who are much richer, plumper, and more successful than their lithe counterparts. Mark Buehrle and CC Sabathia are scheduled to do battle in the middle of America, each representing a high payroll contender in prime playoff position.
Mark Buehrle, fresh off 15 innings of untouchable brilliance, will take the hill for the second place Pale Hose. Buehrle is having another fine season, notching 11 wins while putting up the same consistent peripherals he always does. A FIP around 4, tones of ground balls, few strikeouts and fewer walks. His career numbers against the Yankees are quite poor though he is yet to face the Bronx Bombers this season.
The Sox are only 1.5 games behind the division leading Tigers with their focus squarely on this season. Having just traded two of their lithe lefties Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard to the Padres for reluctant American Leaguer Jake Peavy
Big giant pinstripe enthusiast CC Sabathia is putting together a comparable season to Buehrle though with a different brand of fanfair. The differences between this year and last likely serve as a clear warning to Jake Peavy: the AL is different. Though Sabathia is an experienced American Leaguer, his numbers are markedly different from 2008 to 2009. He's dropped nearly 2 full strikeouts per nine innings with a slight uptick in his walk rate. To his credit, his numbers at the homer-happy Yankee Stadium show he's not only surviving, he's doing quite well, thank you very much. A vet of the AL Central wars, Sabathia dominates at U.S. Cellular; posting a 7-1 record with a microscopic 1.04 WHIP.
The other big difference between these two husky lefties and their lithe counterparts: price. Each man is scheduled to earn $14 million bucks this season, with Sabathia leaping to 23 per next year. League minimum earning bonus babies are good business and good fun, but sometimes you need to send a big, fat, rich guy to do your dirty work. Consider me excited.