What's better than going seven innings and only allowing one run?
Not much. But C.C. Sabathia had an answer. Sabathia crushed a floundering Minnesota offense on Tuesday night, throwing a complete game shutout. It was his second of the year, and his seventh quality start in his last ten.
Scott Baker was more than solid, allowing eight hits and a walk through seven. While he didn't have his usual command he was able to keep himself out of big innings with some help from his defense--including a great snag in his own right, on a hard-hit comebacker (a word which only makes sense in baseball) which likely saved a run. In spite of striking out a season-low one batter and having a tight strike zone, it was his fourth quality start of the season.
Comparing Baker to Sabathia is a bit like comparing Coke to Pepsi (or Tab to Cola Drink if you like): similar in function but there's difference in flavor.
Due to the arm motion and location of release, Sabathia's getting even more movement on his breaking balls than it looks. His slider can be vicious, and it swoops across the plate. While the strain on Baker's shoulder isn't as likely to cause damage to his arm, the torque that Sabathia gets goes a long way in making that breaking ball as effective as it is:
Check out the spin differential on the breaking balls. While Sabathia's fastball/changeup combo has the same amount of spin as a low-end Baker slider, C.C.'s breaking balls are usually coming in pretty far over the top of Baker's fastballs. While it's just a difference in pitching style, it effectively shows where that killer Sabathia slider gets its break.
Where Scott Baker's curveball (and even slider) are a tight and graceful, Sabthia's slider breaks knees...with physics as its evil sidekick.