How sweet would a win be right now? Seriously. At the very least it might back a few fans off the ledge. At best it sparks a little winning streak that carries the team through next week (and ergo the Sox when they come into town).
This is a pretty big start for CC Sabathia. Not only are the Yanks coming off a horrible sweep, but he’s coming off a couple of poor outings. It was at this time last year, in his fifth start, that he righted himself. Let’s hope for a repeat performance.
Being a former AL Central mainstay, Sabathia has racked up a considerable track record against the Tigers. In 161 career innings he’s pitched to a 4.70 ERA, striking out 128 to 47 walks. However, those numbers include his early career when he simply wasn’t the pitcher he is today. Unfortunately, his only start against them last year came in his fourth game, so we know he threw a stinker. He didn’t fare well against them in 2007 either, tossing to a 5.29 ERA over 32.1 innings. The five homers he surrendered certainly pushed up that number, as his K/BB was solid at 26:5. Clearly, though, he’s going to have to reverse his history against the Tigers tonight.
The Tigers send Justin Verlander to the mound tonight. He’s done little to alleviate the concerns he raised last year. In one-third inning less than 2007, Verlander struck out 20 fewer and walked 20 more. That’s definitely not a good sign for a guy who made a 56-inning jump between 2005 and 2006. In 21 innings over four starts this year he’s pitched to a 9.00 ERA, striking out 25 to 9 walks. Dave Cameron says not to worry, that Verlander’s fastball is back and so should his performance. Of course, the start after he wrote that, Verlander got bombed for 7 runs in 5 innings against the Angels.
Despite having been in the league for the past three+ years, Verlander has started just four times against the Yankees for a total of 19 innings. Yes, that’s a horribly low number of innings, resulting from the spanking the Yanks have administered. Verlander has allowed 14 earned runs in those appearances for an ERA of 6.63. However, there are also three unearned runs in there, making the damage even worse. He’s struck out 14 to 9 walks, another good sign for the Yanks. In his one start last year the Yanks absolutely thrashed him, scoring eight runs, five earned, in 1.2 innings. Boy, could we use that tonight or what?
Oh, and is if Girardi were tempting us, Jose Molina starts behind the dish tonight. Will that be what brings CC around?
And on the mound, number fifty-two, CC Sabathia.