Cleveland (18-21) at Tampa Bay (11-28)

Light Rain Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Fri May 21, 2004
  • TV: FSOH, WPXM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

C.C. Sabathia has been one of the more dominant pitchers in the American League this season. He’s only got two wins to show for it.

The big left-hander will try to build on his first victory in a month when the Cleveland Indians open a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.

Sabathia, who has won 13 games in each of the last two seasons after going 17-5 as a rookie in 2001, has surrendered two earned runs or fewer in five of his first seven starts. His 2.03 ERA is tops in the AL, ahead of Texas’ Ryan Drese, who has a 2.83 mark.

After a three-start winless streak, Sabathia was brilliant in Sunday’s 10-0 victory over the Devil Rays, scattering five hits over seven innings while striking out six and walking two. He has yielded two runs and 11 hits over 14 innings in his last two outings.

Sabathia, who has lost four potential wins this year when the bullpen blew leads, didn’t seem overly enthused about the strong offensive support he received in the easy victory.

“Actually, I prefer pitching in tight games,” Sabathia said. “I get that many runs, I’m afraid I’ll get too relaxed and my mind starts to wander.”

Sabathia has tamed the Devil Rays in each of his five career starts against Tampa Bay, going 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA.

The Indians had won a season-high five in a row before dropping the final two games of its three-game series with Chicago, including Wednesday’s 15-3 blowout.

“Over 162 games, you’re going to have some ugly ones and this definitely qualifies,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

The Devil Rays, who suffered a three-game sweep in Cleveland last week, ended a five-game skid with Thursday’s 9-6 win over Boston. Jose Cruz Jr. had a two-run double and Rocco Baldelli drove in two runs with a single during a six-run third inning as Tampa Bay ran out to an early 7-0 lead before holding on for just its second victory in 14 games.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Sabathia NYY vs. P. Abbott Phi
11-10 Record 3-11
4.12 ERA 6.47
139 K 46
72 BB 58
1.32 WHIP 1.71