Since 2004, the innings pitched leader of the World Series winning team struggled the following year -- until CC Sabathia finished third in the 2010 AL Cy Young voting and the Yankees won all three of his postseason starts.
2004 Curt Schilling
Schilling finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2004 with a 21-8 record and 3.26 ERA in 226 ⅔ innings. He went 3-1 in 22 ⅔ more innings in an epic postseason that included the most memorable sock in baseball history. In 2005 Schilling started the season on the DL with pain in his right ankle. He was back on the DL from April to July with a bone bruise on that same ankle -- but a little higher on the leg than where he had surgery. He finished the season 8-8 with a 5.69 ERA.
2005 Mark Buehrle
BuehrleBuehrle led the AL in innings in 2004 and 2005, but pitched an extra 23 ⅓ in 2005 helping the Chicago White Sox on their World Series run. In 2006 Buehrle admitted that a back problem bothered him during the course of the season, but insisted that pain never affected him on the mound. He made 32 starts but finished below .500 for the only time in his career and had a career-worst 4.99 ERA.
2006 Chris Carpenter
A year after winning the NL Cy Young, Carpenter led the St. Louis Cardinals to their first World Series title since 1982. He went 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA in the postseason but pitched 254 innings from April to October. In 2007 and 2008 he appeared in just five games due to shoulder, triceps and elbow problems -- including Tommy John surgery in 2007.
2007 Josh Beckett
BeckettBeckett went 20-7 in 2007 before going 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in the postseason. He pitched a combined 230 ⅔ innings, the most of his professional career. He had a second World Series ring and the ALCS MVP trophy for his efforts, but the October overtime showed in 2008. He started the season on the DL with back problems and was sidelined again in August with elbow issues. He went 12-10 with a 4.03 ERA.
2008 Cole Hamels
Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the postseason on his way to capturing the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. He pitched 262 ⅓ innings between the regular and postseason, 72 ⅓ innings more than his previous career high. In 2009 Hamels missed starting on Opening Day due to inflammation in his left elbow, finished below .500 for the first time in his career (10-11) and had a career-worst 4.32 ERA. Cole was also unable to turn it on in the postseason, going 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four postseason starts.
2009 CC Sabathia
SabathiaSabathia went 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA in his first season with the New York Yankees. He also overcame previous postseason failures by going 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five postseason starts, but he pitched a career-high 266 ⅓ innings in the regular and postseason. Sabathia was unfazed by recent history and pitched more than 240 total innings for the fourth straight season in 2010. He wasn’t just durable, he was also good -- he lowered his ERA from 3.37 to 3.18 and his 21 wins led the AL and established a career high.