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Is Sabathia back on track?

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As you all know by now it has been a harrowing couple of days here at the Sports Network, as we were attacked in the wonderful world of cyberspace by a political entity, basically rendering our website useless for close to three days.

How the powers that be determined that a "political entity" was behind all of this is beyond me, but that is a discussion for another time and another place. Either way, though, our more than qualified technical department was up to the task, and we are up and running again, hopefully safer from cyber terrorists, AKA dorks who I am betting still live in their parents' basements.

The Sports Network is not the only thing back on track, though. Cleveland Indians ace and reigning American League Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia seems to have found his way as well.

I was planning on writing this column on Sabathia's struggles here in the early going. Was last year a fluke? Has the weight caught up to him? Did he throw too many innings last season? Or - the most likely scenario - was the mega-contract that he is expected to sign after the season weighing on his mind?

Sabathia's struggles this April represented one of the biggest head- scratchers in the league up to this point. The hefty left-hander had allowed 18 runs through 18 innings over his first four starts, losing three of them. Not to mention that his postseason a year ago was nothing to write home about.

Well, all that changed on Tuesday, as the 27-year-old hurler looked every bit like the guy who won a career-best 19 games a year ago with, by far, his best performance of the year against the Kansas City Royals. Sabathia picked up his first win of the season, scattering four hits over six scoreless innings while striking out 11 batters and walking two.

So, for all of you Fantasy Baseball owners such as myself who used a high-pick on Sabathia, you can all breathe a little easier today.

What I liked most was Sabathia's reaction to the win. He didn't make it seem like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders, he basically said the poor start was much ado about nothing. He knew there was nothing physically wrong with him, the problem was between his ears.

"The way I was pitching," Sabathia said after Tuesday's win, "I was wishing something was wrong. Giving up nine runs two starts in a row, I was hoping something was hurting. But that's not the case."

Sabathia's struggles have obviously led to a poor start for the Indians, who are perhaps the second biggest disappointment in baseball thus far. Picked by many to repeat as AL Central champions or at the very least stay competitive until the very end, Cleveland is 8-12 entering action on Wednesday, just a half-game ahead of the biggest disappointment in baseball, the Detroit Tigers, who occupy the basement in the division.

As far as Cleveland is concerned, though, if Sabathia has found his way, things are going to change in the AL Central standings very quick.

SPEAKING OF THE TIGERS...

A great line from the movie Days of Thunder comes when Randy Quaid compares his racing team to a monkey doing something explicit with a football. Those of you who have seen it know what I am talking about.

Well, apparently Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland feels the same way as Quaid when it comes to Miguel Cabrera playing third base, because he has decided to move his prized offseason acquisition across the diamond to first base from third, where he had already committed five errors this season.

Carlos Guillen, playing in his first full season at first, will shift over to third. Guillen, who had spent the majority of his career at shortstop before playing first towards the end of last season and the start of this year, didn't do anything particularly wrong at first, but Leyland just thinks this is the right move for the team.

Cabrera is one of the most gifted players in the game with a bat in his hands, but his future has designated hitter written all over it. Who knows though? Albert Pujols really never had a position until Tony La Russa put a first base glove on him on a full-time basis. He struggled in the beginning, but he has turned himself into a Gold Glove winner.

Cabrera is only 25, maybe he will follow suit.

REDS GM GONE

If you had Wayne Krivsky in your pool to be the first general manager fired, you win. While you might think this is a curious move just 21 games into the season for a team that is only three games under .500, think again.

The writing was on the wall for Krivsky when Cincinnati hired Walt Jocketty, the former St. Louis GM and close friend of Reds owner Bob Castellini, over the winter. You don't bring a baseball mind like that in to be a passenger in the car, you bring him in to drive, and that is exactly what the Reds did when they named Jocketty as Krivsky's replacement.

Something tells me Jay Bruce may be headed to the big club in the near future.

STAT OF THE WEEK

With his fourth victory of the season on Tuesday, New York Yankees right- hander Chien-Ming Wang became the fastest pitcher to 50 wins since Dwight Gooden in 1986. Gooden did it in 82 starts, while Wang needed just 85 to get there.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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