CC Sabathia was just denied his first 6-0 start.
There's no denying how dominating the left-hander has been in the Bronx during interleague play since first putting on the New York Yankee pinstripes.
After posting a 6.75 ERA in his first two outings of 2012, Sabathia (5-1, 3.77 ERA) ran off five consecutive wins before surrendering four runs and walking a season-high four in Tuesday's 5-2 loss at Baltimore.
"I thought he didn't have his good sinker," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told the team's official website after Sabathia's six-inning outing. "... That's a big pitch for him - it gets him a lot of ground balls and keeps the ball off the barrel of the bat. He just didn't have it tonight."
That hasn't been the case for Sabathia in interleague play, as the 2007 AL Cy Young winner is 8-1 with a 2.65 ERA in 11 starts against the NL since joining the Yankees in 2009.
Sabathia is 5-0 with a 1.94 ERA in six home starts during that stretch.
He's 4-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 11 starts against the Reds, with his last coming in 2008 while with Milwaukee.
Sabathia will face a Cincinnati club that won 6-5 on Saturday to end the Yankees' six-game interleague home winning streak.
New York (21-19) has dropped five of seven overall.
The Reds (20-19), who avoided a season high-tying third straight defeat Saturday behind Joey Votto's three-run homer and two hits and an RBI apiece from Chris Heisey and Brandon Phillips, can now finish their seven-game trip with a winning record.
Cueto (4-1, 1.89) will try to send the club home on a positive note as he makes his first start in the Bronx since allowing one run in a 4-1 loss at old Yankee Stadium on June 22, 2008. It was his first interleague start on the road.
The right-hander is trying to rebound from a 6-2 loss at Atlanta on Tuesday when he went four innings, yielding season highs of six runs and eight hits. Cueto had given up one run or fewer in each of his previous five starts.
"I don't think anything was wrong," he said through a translator. "... It's the way it goes.''
Cueto last faced the Yankees on June 22 when he threw seven innings of one-run ball in a 10-2 home win.
Raul Ibanez, 4 for 11 off Cueto, could be in right field again in place of Nick Swisher, who has started the last two games at first base with Mark Teixeira dealing with a bronchial ailment.
Ibanez, 3 for 8 with a homer and two doubles in the series, hit .379 (11 for 29) with three home runs and nine RBIs off Reds pitching in 2011 while with Philadelphia.
Derek Jeter, the all-time interleague hits leader with 328, will try to extend his hitting streak against NL teams to nine. The Yankee captain is batting .382 (13 for 34) during that stretch.
Ryan Ludwick could DH for the Reds on Sunday after missing the last two games with a bruised left elbow.
Votto, who has five of his seven homers in the last seven games, is a .421 hitter (8 for 19) with two home runs in the Bronx. The 2010 NL MVP is 2 for 12 with seven strikeouts versus Sabathia.
- Johnny Cueto
- CC Sabathia
- Cincinnati Reds