Sabathia has been the Indians’ best pitcher all season, going 12-8 with a 3.63 ERA. He went 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA in August.
The big left-hander is 6-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 career starts against the hapless Tigers during his three-year career.
Sabathia is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this year, including a 4-0 shutout at Jacobs Field on May 21.
The Indians are looking to bounce back from an 8-6 loss to the Tigers in Tuesday’s opener of a three-game series.
Cody Ross hit a grand slam for his first major league home run and Dmitri Young hit a tiebreaking homer in the fifth as the Tigers earned their 35th win of the season. Carlos Pena added his 16th home run of the season.
Detroit needs to go at least 8-17 the rest of the way to avoid matching the 1962 New York Mets’ record of 120 losses in a season.
The punchless Tigers are last in the AL with 486 runs and a .239 batting average. They will be without veteran Bobby Higginson for the second consecutive game on Wednesday.
Higginson will be serving the final game of his two-game suspension for his ejection on Aug. 10. Higginson and bench coach Kirk Gibson were suspended and fined Aug. 18. Higginson was suspended for two games for “directing inappropriate comments” at umpire Doug Eddings during an argument over balls and strikes.
The Tigers outfielder dropped his appeal of the suspension on Tuesday.
STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 11 1/2 GB, AL Central. Tigers - 5th place, 37 1/2 GB, AL Central.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Sabathia (12-8, 3.63 ERA). Sabathia was roughed up for six runs and 10 hits in a 7-3 loss to Toronto on Friday.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Nate Robertson (1-0, 3.72 ERA). The southpaw has pitched well for Detroit, allowing three runs or fewer in each of his three starts. Robertson held Chicago to three runs and nine hits in five innings to earn an 8-4 win on Friday.
SEASON SERIES: Indians, 12-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - OF Gerut has 27 RBIs in 16 games against Detroit this season. … SS Omar Vizquel is 2-for-19 since being activated from the DL on Aug. 26. … OF Matt Lawton is batting .302 in 90 career games against Detroit. Tigers - OF Ross is the first Tigers player to hit a grand slam for his first major league homer since Milt Cuyler on May 19, 1991. However, he suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury later in the game. … 3B Craig Monroe is hitting .091 (2-for-22) over his last six games. … OF Young is 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts lifetime against Sabathia.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 27-41 on the road; Tigers - 17-51 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - C Victor Martinez (ankle), 15-day DL; INF John McDonald (back), 15-day DL; OF Bradley (back), 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; INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 60-day DL. Tigers - IF Eric Munson (thumb), 15-day DL; IF Dean Palmer (shoulder and neck), 60-day DL.