After two straight losses to the New York Yankees, Sabathia looks to get his All-Star season back on track as he leads the Cleveland Indians against the struggling Tigers in the finale of a two-game series at Jacobs Field.
On Saturday, Sabathia gave up six earned runs and six hits in six innings of a 7-4 loss at Yankee Stadium. Staked to a 4-2 lead, the left-hander gave up four runs in the sixth just 10 days after a 6-2 loss to the Yankees.
“They got a couple of hits, that’s it,” said Sabathia, who dropped to 1-6 with a 7.57 ERA against New York.
He is 6-1 with a 3.50 ERA against the Tigers, and has been especially strong against them this season. In three starts against Detroit, he is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
In fact, aside from his two outings against the Yankees, Sabathia is having a career season.
He won eight of nine decisions before losing his last two starts and was named an All-Star for the first time in his three-year career.
The 6-foot-7, 290-pound Sabathia said that intensifying his workouts has made the difference.
“The conditioning played a big role in it,” he said. “It allowed me to have more stamina deep into the game. I started actually doing the work instead of going in the weight room and playing around.”
On Thursday, the Indians beat the Tigers 4-1, snapping a seven-game losing streak. Travis Hafner homered and Coco Crisp and John McDonald each had two hits for Cleveland, which has won six straight against Detroit.
The hapless Tigers have lost six in a row—their seventh losing streak of at least six games this season.
Cleveland only needed a Jacobs Field-record 2 hours, 4 minutes to beat their division rivals.
STANDINGS: Tigers - 5th place, 29 GB, AL Central. Indians - 4th place, 14 GB, AL Central.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Nate Cornejo (4-8, 4.42 ERA). On Saturday, Cornejo gave up three earned runs and three hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox—his sixth setback in seven decisions. In five career starts against the Indians, he is 0-2 with a 4.45 ERA. He has started against the Indians three times this season, earning an 0-1 record and giving up nine earned runs (4.26 ERA).
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Sabathia (8-5, 3.51 ERA). Opponents are batting .245 and have a .316 on-base percentage against Sabathia, who has struck out 83 and walked 43 in 123 innings this season.
SEASON SERIES: Indians, 9-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - Detroit is the first opponent to lose 50 games at Jacoibs Field. … The Tigers have scored two runs or less 45 times this season. … Trammell said that OF Bobby Higginson will run the bases at full speed Thursday to test his injured left hamstring. If it goes well, Higginson could come off the 15-day DL Friday. Indians - The Indians announced Wednesday that Charles Nagy, who went 129-103 with a 4.51 ERA for Cleveland from 1990-2002, will return as a special assistant to general manager Mark Shapiro. … LHP Jason Stanford, who is 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts for the Indians this season, was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo Wednesday. LHP Brian Tallet was optioned back to Buffalo to make room. … The Indians had gone 34 innings without a homer before 1B Hafner’s second inning shot.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 14-38 on the road; Indians - 23-25 at home.
INJURIES: Tigers - OF Higginson (hamstring), 15-day DL; INF Dean Palmer (shoulder and neck), 60-day DL. Indians - INF Ricky Gutierrez (spine), 15-day DL; SS Omar Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Lawton (finger), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL.