In the opener of a three-game series Friday night, Sabathia tries to win his sixth consecutive start, while Buehrle tries to end his recent slide.
New York (79-48) dropped two of three home games to Texas this week, including a 7-2 loss Thursday. It marked the first time an opponent won a series at Yankee Stadium since Washington took two of three June 16-18.
New York, which had won 18 of its previous 21 games in the Bronx, scored nine runs in each of the first two games before going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position in the finale.
“We haven’t done that in a long time,” manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees’ official Web site. “But you still have another series and we’re going to turn it around (Friday).”
The Yankees, who lead Boston by six games atop the AL East, hope to continue the dominance they had over the White Sox (64-64) at the old Yankee Stadium, where they won eight of the last 10 meetings.
New York didn’t have much success in Chicago four weeks ago, losing three of four July 30-Aug.2. The only bright spot for the Yankees came in the series finale, as Melky Cabrera(notes) hit for the cycle in an 8-5 victory.
Sabathia (15-7, 3.59 ERA) and Buehrle (11-7, 3.92) also faced one another in that game, though neither was sharp. Sabathia earned the win despite allowing five runs and 10 hits in seven innings, while Buehrle was tagged for seven runs and 12 hits in 4 1-3 innings to take the loss.
That victory was the first of Sabathia’s current winning streak.
Sabathia has compiled a 2.65 ERA while winning all five starts this month, improving to 20-2 with a 2.20 ERA in 28 August starts since 2005. The left-hander has struck out 39 in 37 1-3 innings during the current streak, his longest since winning a career-best seven consecutive starts Aug. 5-Sept. 7, 2005.
Sabathia allowed four runs and eight hits with eight strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of Sunday night’s 8-4 win over Boston to become the first 15-game winner in the majors.
While Sabathia’s enjoying his best stretch of the year, Buehrle’s season is spiraling downward.
Since throwing the 18th perfect game in baseball history against Tampa Bay on July 23, Buehrle is 0-4 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts. The four-time All-Star gave up five runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Baltimore.
It won’t be easy for Buehrle to break out of his slump against the Yankees.
Led by an offense that leads the majors in homers (195) and on-base percentage (.359), New York has frustrated plenty of opponents this season, and has historically knocked around Buehrle.
The left-hander is 0-4 with a 12.23 ERA in his last five starts against the Yankees, and has only one win in nine career starts against them.
The White Sox arrive in New York following Thursday’s 9-5 win at Boston to avoid a four-game sweep and snap a four-game skid.
“That’s a pretty big win,” manager Ozzie Guillen said, “just for the momentum, to get this fire up, get this energy back, get the hope.”