The Cleveland Indians ace tries to become the majors’ first 15-game winner and continue his dominance over the White Sox when the teams play the middle game of their three-game series on Wednesday.
Sabathia (14-6, 3.56 ERA) went 12-2 with a 3.20 ERA in his first 18 starts of the season, but then went 1-2 with a 8.47 ERA in three starts from July 5-19. The opening day starter for the Indians (64-49) has bounced back, posting a 1.74 ERA in his last three outings, but a lack of offensive support left him with a 1-2 record in those games.
The left-hander allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Friday to become the AL’s first 14-game winner. He is tied for the most victories in the majors with Boston’s Josh Beckett, the Los Angeles Angels’ John Lackey and the Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano, who also pitches Wednesday.
Sabathia has won four straight starts over the White Sox, and is 6-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his last seven outings against them. He has not beaten any team more than Chicago, going 14-3 in 22 career starts, and has been particularly good at U.S. Cellular Field with a 7-0 record and 2.70 ERA in 10 games.
Sabathia has won both of his starts against the White Sox this season, allowing four runs over 14 innings.
Chicago’s Paul Konerko is batting .161 (9-for-56) with two homers and 10 strikeouts lifetime against Sabathia, while slugger Jim Thome is hitless with seven strikeouts in 11 career at-bats against the three-time All-Star.
Cleveland defeated the White Sox 2-1 on Tuesday, maintaining its half-game AL Central lead over second-place Detroit.
The Indians have won two straight, but have just four victories in their last 10. They have not won three consecutive games since reeling off six in a row June 28-July 3.
Chicago (52-60) managed just two hits on Tuesday as its four-game winning streak came to an end.
Jermaine Dye was hitless in three at-bats after going 8-for-14 with three homers and seven RBIs in his previous three games. Unlike most of his teammates, though, Dye has had success against Sabathia, batting .303 (10-for-33) with three home runs.
Jon Garland (8-7, 4.60) tries to bounce back from one of the worst starts of his career when takes the hill Wednesday.
Garland was pounded for eight runs and nine hits in just 1 1-3 innings - matching the shortest start of his career - Thursday against the New York Yankees. He was bailed out of the loss, however, as the White Sox won 13-9 in a game which featured each team scoring eight runs in the second inning.
“Bad day to be a pitcher,” Garland told the team’s official Web site. “I’ve seemed to have a few of those - that’s five or six.”
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 10.01 ERA and a .381 opponent batting average in his last six starts after going 2-2 with a 2.29 ERA in his previous five.
Garland has not recorded a decision in his two starts against Cleveland this season, allowing eight runs in 11 1-3 innings. He is 7-10 with a 5.83 ERA in 22 games - 21 starts - lifetime against the Indians.
Cleveland’s Victor Martinez was hitless in four at-bats on Tuesday, and is hitting .118 (6-for-51) in his last 16 games as his batting average has dropped 27 points to .299. He is 16-for-32 with a homer and two doubles against Garland.