I basically made this Remember When series as an excuse to write about the CC Sabathia Milwaukee Brewers season so let’s jump right into it.
CC Sabathia was always a solid starter to borderline Ace with the Cleveland Indians. From the moment he debuted in 2001, he was one of the most important players on the team. He went 17-5 in his rookie campaign and finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year race.
But CC didn’t become one of the greatest pitchers of his generation until his historic 2008 run carrying the Milwaukee Brewers on his back to the playoffs after being dealt at the trade deadline.
At the end of June 2008, Cleveland was TRASH sitting 10 games out in the AL Central with a 37-46 record which meant they’d for sure be selling at the trade deadline. By that point, 37-year old Paul Byrd was still out there doing his best and Cliff Lee was emerging as one of the best pitchers which made CC the odd man out and the obvious trade chip.
After a fairly average start that saw the team sitting at .500 at the end of May, Milwaukee went 16-10 in June which moved them up in the standings and turned them into buyers at the deadline.
Enter CC Sabathia.
On July 7th 2008, Cleveland sent CC to Milwaukee for Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson and a player to be named later (which ended up being Michael Brantley. So, ya know, kind of a good trade for both teams but this isn’t about Cleveland.)
CC didn’t come out throwing flames. He pitched 6 innings against the Rockies and gave up 2 earned runs with 5 walks and 5 strikeouts. But of course got the W. Stay tuned, he’s going to get a lot of those.
Sabathia needed only one NL start to knock the dust off. In his second start with the Brewers, CC threw a 2-run, 9 strikeout complete game against the Reds. Guess what he did in his third start. Yes, that is correct. Another complete game against the Giants allowing only one run with 10 K’s.
Wait wait wait, do you know what he did in his next start? Complete game shut out against the Cardinals with 7 strikeouts. 4 straight wins. For the remainder of the season, the Brewers only lost 3 games that Sabathia started.
Milwaukee went 20-7 in the month of August just riding Sabathia’s back like The Neverending Story. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun were hitting every baseball to the moon with CC and Ben Sheets leading the pitching staff.
His best game was a one-hit complete game against the Pirates in which the one hit was a ground ball to him that he fumbled in his glove. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to call that play an error and act as if he threw a no-hitter because it should’ve been an error and a no-hitter. Fuck Pittsburgh.
Should probably mention the weird Milwaukee dysfunction and players getting hurt and slumping all at the same time that led to the manager, Ned Yost, getting fired mid-September in the middle of a playoff race which is an insane move.
Important context to understand what would happen next. There were 12 games left in the season and a new manager trying to save the team’s season. CC Sabathia would pitch on three days rest…in three straight starts including the final game of the season with the Brewers and Mets both tied for the NL Wildcard lead with 89 wins.
That maniac pitched a 4-hit complete game with zero earned runs and 7 K’s because of course he did. The Brewers made the postseason for the first time since 1982 all thanks to CC Sabathia reach god levels.
CC Sabathia would go on to finish 6th in the NL MVP voting. He showed up to the division halfway through the season and almost won the MVP—an award that’s almost impossible for pitchers to even win.
If you’re ever questioning whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame this CC Sabathia Milwaukee Brewers 2008 run should answer all inquiries.
Oh, plus he was an alcoholic in ’08. Nothing but respect for my drunk Ace.