Cleveland aces Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia, a power right-hander and a big southpaw may be the most dangerous 1-2 punch in the postseason. Both were clutch in September, leading the Indians to the American League Central title as they return to the postseason for the first time since 2001. Carmona was just a little more impressive, though, edging out Sabathia to win his first American League Pitcher of the Month Award.
Carmona won each of his five starts in September, allowing just two home runs, 26 hits, seven earned runs and nine walks with 27 strikeouts over 35 1/3 innings. "I feel great about what happened this season," Carmona said. "I learned a lot from what happened last season. That was a learning experience. I took every opportunity the team gave me and tried to do the best with every opportunity. It's worked, so far." No doubt it did. The 23-year-old, in his second season in the Majors, went 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA, 137 strikeouts, two complete games and one shutout. Sabathia put up great numbers, too, as the Indians went 19-9 the final month. He was 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA with 33 strikeouts over 38 innings in September. Now, Carmona and Sabathia head to the playoffs with the Yankees on tap, a team the Indians haven't beat this season. Still, the Indians finished the season as one of -- if not the -- hottest team in the Majors, going 31-12 the last 43 games. "We just need to keep it going," Sabathia said. "It's a whole different season, so we need to step up. We've been keeping us in games all year. I think everybody -- all the starters -- we feed off each other. If one guy has a great game, the next wants to throw a shutout. It's definitely good competition." The Indians hope that mentality carries into October with Carmona and Sabathia paving the way.
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.