Obviously it's early, and C.C. has time to right the ship (well, at least if he can figure out why it has capsized in the first place), but with a line as ghastly as that, he also has a chance to experience the worst post-Cy Young year ever.
And that's no small feat, because there are actually a lot of pitchers who put in bad seasons immediately following a Cy Young win. A sampling of the worst:
Cy Young Year: 1958
Following Year: 8-11, 4.32 ERA
Analysis: Just came back to Earth, really. And to be honest, he wasn't as good in 1958 as a lot of other guys. Wasn't even the best guy in his team's rotation. He was just the only one to get 20 wins. After that year, however, he would never win 10 games in a season again.
Cy Young Year: 1966
Following Year: Retired
Analysis: This is a cheat, of course, but I kind of like C.C. Sabathia, so he should be comforted by the fact that there are things far worse than getting shelled in your post-Cy year, such as a career-ending injury. Of course, posting a 13.50 ERA and giving up hits like you're pitching BP is indicative of someone with a potentially career-ending injury, but we shant dwell on that.
Cy Young Year: 1967
Following Year: 6-10, 4.29 ERA in the alleged Year of the Pitcher
Analysis: Impossible Dreams take a lot out of a guy. After 1967, it would be five years before he would post 200 IP in a season again, and that was back when 200 IP wasn't that big a trick.
Cy Young Year: 1967
Following Year: 12-14, 3.57 ERA in a year when that was considerably below average.
Analysis: Like Turley in 1958, he was a "wins" Cy Young winner. He wasn't even in the top 5 in ERA in 1967, didn't strike out that many guys, and walked an awful lot. He wasn't a fluke, of course, in that he had a couple of really solid seasons earlier in the decade, but by 1968 the smoke and the mirrors weren't working anymore, and the toll of a lot of innings at a young age -- McCormick was a phenom once upon a time -- were probably taking their toll.
Cy Young Year: 1970
Following Year: 17-17, 4.23
Analysis: 1971 wasn't an atrocious season, but Gaylord's older brother walked nearly twice as many batters in just about the same number of innings the year after taking home the hardware, and that proved to be the difference.
Cy Young Year: 1971
Following Year: 6-10, 2.80 ERA
Analysis: 300 IP at age 21 will do that to a fella. He would bounce back and have several more productive seasons, but he certainly wasn't the same after 1971.
Cy Young Year: 1972
Following Year: 13-20, 3.90 ERA
Analysis: Carrying a team can hurt your back. The Phillies actually improved by 12 games the year after Carlton's otherworldly season, but Carlton suffered the worst year of his prime in 1973. If C.C. is worried this morning, he may take some comfort in the trajectory of Lefty's career, because after a couple of pedestrian (for him) years, he became Steve freakin' Carlton again in 1976 and would go on to win three more Cy Young awards.
Cy Young Year: 1973
Following Year: 7-12, 3.27 ERA
Analysis: Elbow problems explain this. Palmer would rebound with back to back Cy Youngs in 1975 and 1976.
Cy Young Year: 1973
Following Year: 11-11, 3.20 ERA
Analysis: There's a fine line between dominance and mere competence, and Seaver stepped on it a bit in 1974 (not that scores of pitchers wouldn't have killed for a year like his). He still struck out 200 guys, though, and like Palmer, would bounce back and return to his usual stellar form in 1975.
Cy Young Year: 1976
Following Year: 6-12, 4.50 ERA
Analysis: Injured himself at the end of his 1976 season and wasn't the same after that, but given his weak K/IP ratios even at his peak, he was bound for a fall, injuries or not.
Cy Young Year: 1980
Following Year: 4-7, 4.60 ERA, out of baseball the year after that.
Analysis: According to Stone, he consciously built his Cy Young season on a foundation of arm-wrecking curveballs which, in fact, wrecked his arm. Stone idolized Sandy Koufax, though, so the quick track between Cy Young and retirement served as a nice homage.
Cy Young Year: 1982
Following Year: 0-2, 4.81 ERA.
Analysis: He tore his rotator cuff in the spring of 1983 and that was pretty much that.
Cy Young Year: 1983
Following Year: 13-18, 4.47 ERA
Analysis: While his peripherals weren't radically different in 1984, he did slip and his run support fell off pretty sharply. The Colombian marching powder probably didn't help all that much either.
Cy Young Year: 1989
Following Year: 2-7, 5.11 ERA, 6 saves, $10M contract
Analysis: Unlike C.C., Davis knew that you're supposed to tank the year after you land that long term deal.
Cy Young Year: 1990
Following Year: 12-13, 4.58 ERA
Analysis: LaMarr Hoyt's long lost brother? Like Hoyt, Welch suffered a death by a thousand cuts (fewer strikeouts, more walks, more hits, less run support). Like Hoyt, the fall seemed farther than it really was given that he wasn't as good as his record indicated in his Cy Young year.
Cy Young Year[s]: 1995, 2002
Following Year[s]: 5-0, but only 8 starts; 6-8 in only 18 starts
Analysis: Injury bug. He'd win four more Cy Youngs after the first bad season. He's certainly fallen off since the last one -- really only one year in which he was The Big Unit -- but turning 40 will do that to a guy. Right now? I'm guessing C.C. would kill to have an "off" season like Johnson's 2005.
Cy Young Year: 2005
Following Year: 1-5, 5.11 ERA
Analysis: Like so many of these guys, a rotator cuff felled him. The weight hasn't helped. C.C. has lived with the latter problem for a long time. I'm guessing there are some people in Cleveland right now wondering if the former problem is affecting him as well.
So take heart, C.C.! You may be miserable right now, but you're certainly not alone!