Last time the Yankees faced Mark Buehrle they had a plan. The Bombers touched him for 12 hits on August 2, most of them grounders between short and third. That could have been coincidence, but more than likely, considering its frequency, it was a design by Kevin Long. It worked, as the Yanks mustered seven runs off the ChiSox ace and knocked him out after 4.1 innings.
Since he pitched his no-hitter on July 23, Buehrle has gone down hill. He did spin a gem against Seattle on August 12, eight innings of shutout ball, but other than that he’s been downright terrible. In his last two starts he’s allowed four runs over six innings to the freaking Royals, striking out zero, and five runs over 5.1 innings to the Orioles. His ERA still sits at 3.92, but it’s been quite inflated lately.
Buehrle has tossed an even 50 innings in his career against the Yankees, allowing 41 runs, 39 earned. There is no team he has fared worse against in his career — save for a paltry 11-inning sample against the Giants. While he gives other teams fits, especially the division rival Tigers, against whom he has a 2.99 career ERA, the Yankees seem to have him figured out.
On the other side will be the league leader in innings pitched and games started, CC Sabathia. As expected, CC has been pitching lights out this August. His only blip was his last outing against the ChiSox, also opposing Buehrle, when he allowed five runs over seven innings. That was good enough for the win that day, though, and he’s plowed through each subsequent start, earning a victory every time.
What’s changed this month about Sabathia is his strikeouts and walks. Over the season’s first four months he had a 109:43 K/BB ratio, pretty good but not quite the insane ratios he’s had over the past few years. Since then he’s struck out 39 to just five walks. That’s more like it. The only miniscule problem here is that he’s allowed five homers this month, but those have mostly been of the solo variety. That’s going to happen to a power pitcher (see Santana, Johan). As long as they happen with no one on base, though, it’s not that big an issue.
Yanks look to put the series loss against the Rangers behind them by taking the first today. Considering the way the Sox played against the Sox last week, the Yankees should take all three here. Not that they will, but they should against a team playing like the Sox right now.
And on the mound, number fifty-two, Carsten Charles Sabathia.