CC Sabathia wasn't as dominant last night as he was in his previous, rain-interrupted start, but he still managed to hold the White Sox to two runs over eight innings, striking out six against no walks, and needing just 104 pitches to do so. That outing was the eighth in a row in which Sabathia lasted at least seven innings and allowed no more than two runs, the longest such streak of Sabathia's career.
To put that in context, Sabathia's is just the sixth such streak to reach eight games since the turn of the millennium. Last season, when Ubaldo Jimenez opened the season with a streak of dominance that had people talking about Bob Gibson in 1968, he only managed seven such outings in a row (Gibson himself had 11 such starts in a row in that legendary season).
If Sabathia can meet that standard of at least seven innings and no more than two runs allowed in his next turn, his streak will go from impressive to historic. Since 1919, there have been only 24 such streaks that reached nine games, one of them being a nine-game streak by Justin Verlander earlier this season. The last time there were two such streaks of nine or more games in a season was 1986, when Bill Gullickson had a nine-game streak and eventual National League Cy Young Award winner Mike Scott turned in the second-longest such streak on record at 12 games. Also, of those 24 streaks of nine or more games, five of them spanned more than one season, leaving just 19 such streaks that took place within a single season in the last 93 years.
Of course, Sabathia hasn't gotten to nine games just yet, but since I'm getting ahead of myself, if he makes it to ten games, his streak will be one of the 11 longest on record and just the ninth of ten games to take place during a single season. As for the longest, that was 13 games by Tom Seaver from July 17 to September 16, 1971. Seaver completed ten of those games, two of which were shutouts, posting a 0.94 ERA and striking out 114 men in 114 1/3 innings over his streak, but still took three losses and two no-decisions to go 8-3 over that stretch. Sabathia, by comparison, is already 7-1 during his streak, with a 1.01 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.
This is a Hall of Famer pitching some of the best baseball of his life. Enjoy it, and try not to think about the fact that he can opt out of his contract at the end of the season.