The left-hander will try to keep the Indians in the thick of the division race when they open a three-game series with the playoff-hopeful Texas Rangers.
Sabathia has helped the Indians climb into second place in the Central, two games behind the two-time defending division champion Minnesota Twins. The burly 24-year-old southpaw has won four of his last six starts, including the last two.
Sabathia allowed two runs and five hits over seven strong innings in a 3-2 win over Toronto on Wednesday, lowering his ERA to 3.77—ninth-best in the AL.
He also displayed some postseason intensity, getting into a shouting match with plate umpire Jeff Kellogg after a questionable call on a leadoff walk in the seventh.
“I yelled, sure I did,” Sabathia said. “What I don’t understand is him running out at me. If I bump him, then I’m the guy in trouble. He tried to get me to run into him.
“I guarantee that if we were outside this stadium, he wouldn’t run up on me like that.”
Sabathia settled down and retired the side in the seventh before another near run-in with Kellogg on his way to the dugout.
“Here’s what he yelled to me then,” Sabathia said, ‘You’re all over the place—inside, outside.’ I told him that had nothing to do with it, just call a strike a strike.”
The Indians squandered a chance to pull into a virtual first-place tie with Minnesota on Sunday, dropping the finale of the three-game series 4-2 in 10 innings. However, Cleveland took the first two games, and has won 10 of 12.
The Rangers completed a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay with Sunday’s 6-2 victory. Laynce Nix homered and drove in three runs, including a tiebreaking sacrifice fly, for Texas, which is tied with Boston for the lead in the AL wild-card race.
“This was a much-needed series to get us back on track,” Texas outfielder David Dellucci said. “Hopefully we’re becoming our old selves again.”