CC Sabathia looked nothing like an ace in his season debut.
The Baltimore Orioles have rarely seen him look like anything else.
Sabathia seeks to rebound from a disappointing performance and help the New York Yankees complete a three-game sweep in Baltimore on Wednesday night.
Sabathia's ninth career opening day start was one of his worst as Tampa Bay reached him for five runs - four on Carlos Pena's grand slam - and eight hits in six innings Friday. The left-hander walked three, struck out seven and still stood to get the win before Mariano Rivera's blown save gave the Rays a 7-6 victory.
"(The problem was) fastball command," Sabathia told the Yankees' official website. "But it got better later, so I can take something from that and work in the bullpen and be ready to go four days from now."
Sabathia always seems to be ready when facing the Orioles.
He is 16-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 22 starts against them after winning each of his two last season - both on the road - behind a 1.69 ERA.
After getting swept at Tampa Bay to open the season, the Yankees (2-3) have bounced back to win the first two games of this series. They got a strong start from Ivan Nova in Monday's 6-2 victory and Raul Ibanez doubled home the go-ahead run in the 12th inning in Tuesday's 5-4, 4 1/2-hour win.
"It just seemed to be one of those games for both teams. We had our opportunities to score runs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday. "It was a strange day. Just a strange day."
New York will have the luxury of having its ace on the mound as it tries to sweep an opponent it continues to dominate. The Yankees are 41-15 against Baltimore (3-2) since the start of 2009, including a 20-9 road mark during that span.
Robinson Cano picked up three more hits at Camden Yards on Tuesday, and is batting .456 (62 for 136) with 10 homers, 15 doubles and 36 runs scored in his last 32 games there.
J.J. Hardy's first-inning home run accounted for the Orioles' only RBI Tuesday as Freddy Garcia aided their offense with five wild pitches. Baltimore went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and is 6 for 41 (.146) this season in such situations.
Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds is off to a slow start - both at the plate and in the field. He is 2 for 14 (.143) with six strikeouts and he made a costly error during New York's three-run sixth Tuesday before overrunning a foul pop-up in the 12th.
Reynolds - the major league leader with 31 errors last season - is 0 for 6 with three strikeouts lifetime against Sabathia.
Baltimore's Jake Arrieta looks for a repeat performance in his second start of the season after dominating Minnesota on Friday.
The third-year right-hander limited the Twins to two hits in seven scoreless innings, walking two and striking out four in a 4-2 victory. That outing was especially encouraging after elbow surgery ended Arrieta's 2011 season in August.
"I wanted to be ready for this day," he said. "And being able to be on the mound today at 100 percent makes it all worth it."
Arrieta is 2-1 with a 3.99 ERA in five starts versus the Yankees, although he was 0-1 in three last season - all Baltimore defeats.
Nick Swisher is hitless in 13 at-bats against Arrieta.