NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia has won three of his past four starts, but really has only pitched well in two of them. His most recent time out, Sabathia allowed five runs in 5-2/3 innings but the Yankees went on to beat the Orioles, 8-5.
New York Yankees
And two starts before that, Sabathia allowed six runs in 5-1/3 innings to the Red Sox, but he wound up with the win on the night Ryan Dempster turned Alex Rodriguez into a target and a rallying point for his team. So to say Sabathia's problems are behind him would be something of a misstatement.
Tonight, Sabathia takes an 18-4 lifetime record and 3.63 lifetime ERA vs. the White Sox into the series finale, although the only time he has faced the White Sox this season, he had to settle for a no-decision after allowing three runs in 7-1/3 innings at the Cell on Aug. 7 in a game the Yankees wound up losing, 6-5.
Before the game, Joe Girardi was asked on what he based his continuing belief in CC's ability to be effective for his team in their crucial final 24 games of the season. "I’ve seen a lot of good innings from him," Girardi said. "It seems a lot of times like it’s one inning that gets away from him. I think his sinker has been better, I think his changeup has been better, his velocity has actually increased a little bit. And I’ve seen some really good innings out of him. We need to see more of that."
• Girardi dropped A-Rod to sixth in the batting order tonight against righty Erik Johnson, who is making his major league debut, but the manager said it was only to break up the lefties in his lineup.
• The Yankees are 16-6 since the Girardi Doctrine was delivered on Aug. 10. That was the day the manager said his team needed to win 93 games to make the playoffs. By his math, the Yankees will need to go 19-5 the rest of the way to assure themselves of at least one game in October. They enter play tonight 2-1/2 games out of the second AL wild-card spot, and better yet, they trail just one team, the Tampa Bay Rays, who have lost five of their past six. The Rays play the Angels, who they beat last night to snap a five-game losing streak, in Anaheim in a 10:05 p.m. start.