First Pitch: CC tries to stave off elimination

DETROIT -- CC Sabathia was supposed to be the man to lead this team to a championship. He is the guy everyone knew would be the most important member of this team if it won it all.

All Sabathia has done so far is go 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 17 2/3 postseason innings. The rest of the staff has done its best to support Sabathia. But you know the story -- the Yankees hitters haven't shown up.

Still, Sabathia will try to hold off a sweep and the offseason for the lifeless Yankees. He could do it, provided the Yankees can score at least one run. In his three regular-season starts against the Tigers -- two of which came here in Detroit -- Sabathia was 3-0 with a 3.32 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

The Yankees have never lost in the six times Sabathia has started on the road in the playoffs. He is 3-0 with a 4.19 ERA.

In his past eight postseason starts, Sabathia is undefeated, going 4-0 with a 3.97 ERA in 47 2/3 innings.

He'll have to stay undefeated for the Yankees to stay alive.

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor on the collapse. Wallace Matthews on Joe Girardi's shake-up that didn't work. My news story on Phil Hughes' stiff back and the big-time benchings. And five things from the clubhouse.

ON DECK: Rob Parker will have a new column today. Mark Simon will have a What2Watch4. Max Scherzer faces Sabathia.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you play Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher?