The Indians begin an eight-game homestand as they meet the Texas Rangers in the opener of a two-game series.
Cleveland is 4-2 at home, winning both of its series there. Sabathia held the Chicago White Sox to one run and five hits through eight innings while striking out 10 in a 2-1 win on April 15.
In two home starts, the left-hander has allowed only two earned runs and five walks through 15 innings with 17 strikeouts. Sabathia (3-0, 2.25 ERA) barely missed recording his fourth win in as many starts on Friday, when he held Tampa Bay to two earned runs and seven hits over seven innings while striking out eight, but didn’t factor into the 4-3 win.
“I’m just glad we won,” said Sabathia, who is 6-2 with a 4.42 ERA in nine career starts versus the Rangers. “We needed this. It feels good to be on the winning end of a game.”
The Indians (10-7) have a season-high three straight wins thanks to an offense that has totaled 18 runs. They beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Tuesday to complete a two-game sweep and finish 4-4 on their road trip.
Travis Hafner homered in the first inning for Cleveland to boost his team-leading batting average to .381, and he also has 14 RBIs. The Indians’ designated hitter was 17-for-30 (.567) on the road trip with four homers and nine RBIs.
He helped spark an offense that manager Eric Wedge believes is turning around.
“We started to turn the corner with runners in scoring position, and we did a good job with two outs,” Wedge told the Indians’ official Web site. “Those are indicators that the offense is starting to come around.”
Texas’ offense continues to struggle, and enters this game with a .230 batting average. The Rangers (8-11) didn’t get a chance to boost that number Tuesday as their game against Seattle was postponed because of steady rain and will be rescheduled when the Mariners return for their next series—July 23-25 — to Arlington.
“I talk to them every day about the importance of staying the course,” Rangers first-year manager Ron Washington said. “Like anything else you do where there’s competition, if you don’t do what you want to do, it’s human nature to have a little frustration. It’s not frustration from giving up; it’s frustration from wanting to be the best you can be.”
Texas has also been frustrated on the road where it is a dismal 2-7, losing all three series. Vicente Padilla (0-3, 6.00) takes the mound for the Rangers, who are opening a six-game trip, after having his start pushed back due to Tuesday’s rainout.
Brandon McCarthy, Wednesday’s scheduled starter, will be skipped in the rotation and will make his next start Sunday in Toronto.
Padilla, who is still searching for his first win, allowed a three-run homer and issued a career high-tying six walks without a strikeout over 6 1-3 innings Thursday, but didn’t factor into a 6-4 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 7.54 ERA in four career starts versus the Indians, but has allowed 12 runs in 10 1-3 innings in dropping his last two meetings with them.
Cleveland won the 2006 season series between these teams 5-4.