Some have wondered this week why Sabathia was lined up to pitch against the Reds in the first place. The Brewers, after all, have a crucial four-game series looming Thursday against the Phillies that could go a long way to deciding the National League Wild Card.
An off-day Monday would have allowed Brewers manager Ned Yost to use Sabathia in the opener of the Phillies series and still have him available to pitch in each of the Brewers' remaining two series against the Chicago Cubs. But doing so would have left a void Wednesday to be filled by a bullpen arm or a September callup, and Yost was not willing to take that gamble.
"If I pitch somebody else here [on Wednesday] and we lose, what does that accomplish?" Yost asked.
"That affects everything down the line if I do that," Yost added. "I want Sabathia to pitch twice against the Cubs. We just take them one game at a time. Every win's important. It doesn't matter who it's against."
Given the way September has gone for the Brewers, Sabathia's outing against Cincinnati suddenly seems like a big game.
"We have to come with a 'new day' attitude [on Wednesday] and see if we can't finish this homestand with a win," Yost said. "This hasn't been a very productive homestand for us."
MIL: LHP CC Sabathia (15-8, 2.77 ERA)
Sabathia did his part on Friday against the Padres, but the Brewers couldn't close the deal in time for his 10th National League win. Sabathia allowed a leadoff baserunner in five of his seven innings, but he limited the Padres to one run on five hits and went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a go-ahead single. The lead got away from reliever Eric Gagne, but the Brewers rallied to improve to 11-1 in Sabathia's starts. He's the second pitcher in the past 90 seasons to win his first nine decisions after a midseason change of teams. The other is Doyle Alexander, who was traded from the Braves to the Tigers in 1987 for John Smoltz.
CIN: RHP Bronson Arroyo (14-10, 4.84 ERA)
In his last start on Friday, Arroyo struck out the first three Cubs he faced on 10 pitches before getting a big lead and cruising thereafter for his 14th win of the season. The 31-year-old right-hander went 6 1/3 innings and gave up just one run on four hits, striking out six, in the Reds' big win over the Cubs. A high pitch count drove Arroyo out early, as he threw a season-high 122 pitches before being chased midway through the seventh inning. The right-hander has faced the Brewers twice this season, going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 2/3 innings. Lifetime, Arroyo is 7-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts) against Milwaukee.
The Brewers can mathematically eliminate the Reds from postseason contention with a win Wednesday. ... Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips broke the index finger on his right hand two pitches before he delivered the game-winning hit Tuesday. He suffered the injury trying to bunt a pitch from McClung. ... Ray Durham's pinch-hit home run was his first in exactly a year. He came off the Giants bench and went deep against Dodgers pitcher Jonathan Broxton on Sept. 9, 2007. ... Two-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale threw out a ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday's game. Weber-Gale, who attended Nicolet High School just north of Milwaukee, showed off his medals and took a tour of the Brewers' clubhouse.
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Thursday: Brewers (Ben Sheets, 13-7, 2.82) at Phillies (TBD), 6:05 p.m. CT
Friday: Brewers (Manny Parra, 10-7, 4.03) at Phillies (TBD), 6:05 p.m. CT
Saturday: Brewers (Dave Bush, 9-10, 4.23) at Phillies (TBD), 2:55 p.m. CT