Sabathia (6-1, 3.51 ERA) will make his first start against Detroit of 2007, as the Indians and Tigers continue their weekend series on Saturday night.
The left-hander is 10-7 in his career against the Tigers, but failed to beat them last year. In three starts, Sabathia allowed six earned runs in 22 innings for a 2.45 ERA, but received only one run of support.
He’s coming off an outing in which he struggled and failed to record a decision. Sabathia threw 92 pitches and gave up a run and eight hits over five innings Monday in a 5-2 win over Seattle in a makeup of Cleveland’s snowed-out home opener.
“I don’t know if (the Mariners) made me work or if I was out of sync,” Sabathia told the Indians’ official Web site. “I looked up in the third and said, ‘It’s got to be the fifth.’”
To counter the Indians’ ace, the Tigers will send their own to the mound. Justin Verlander (5-1, 2.68) looks to become the first Detroit pitcher to win five starts in a month since August 2002, when Steve Sparks and Brian Moehler both did so.
Verlander is coming off his longest outing of the season. Facing the Cardinals on Sunday, Verlander pitched a season-high eight innings and capped a three-game sweep when he allowed two runs and five hits in a 6-3 victory.
“It’s nice, but at the same time, I expect myself to do that. I expect to be able to go out and give our team a chance,” Verlander told the Tigers’ official Web site after they avenged last season’s World Series loss.
En route to winning AL Rookie of the Year honors last season, the right-hander was 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA against Cleveland. His worst outing last year, though, came against the Indians on Aug. 26, when he yielded eight runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-5 loss.
The Tigers head into this contest trailing only the Indians in the AL Central. Cleveland got solo homers from Casey Blake and Victor Martinez in the first inning and Josh Barfield later added a two-run shot in a 7-4 win in Friday’s series opener.
“This was a nice game,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “We had a lot of good things happen tonight.”
Before the game, the Tigers announced they will be without right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney for the remainder of this series due to tightness in his shoulder.
“It’s a little bit tight, but I’m not thinking it is a big deal,” said Rodney, who had been serving as Todd Jones’ setup man with Joel Zumaya on the disabled list following finger surgery. “A couple more days of rest and treatment, and I think I’ll be ready.”
Rodney is 1-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 19 games.