American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, May 15th (All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (20-15) at Baltimore Orioles (22-14), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - CC Sabathia (5-0, 3.51) Baltimore - Wei-Yin Chen (3-0, 2.68)
(Sports Network) - CC Sabathia has put together a 20-win season, won a Cy Young Award and captured a World Series title, but has never opened a season 6-0.
The decorated left-hander is on the verge of that career first and takes the hill for the New York Yankees tonight in the finale of a two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles and their undefeated starter, Wei-Yin Chen.
Sabathia is 5-0 with a 3.51 earned run average through seven starts this year, matching the career-best start he had over seven outings in 2007 with the Indians to begin his American League Cy Young-winning campaign.
The 31-year-old won his fifth straight start on Thursday, putting together his best outing of the season. Sabathia struck out a season-high 10 batters over eight innings versus the Rays, giving up two unearned runs and retiring 14 of his final 16 batters faced to outduel fellow lefty David Price.
"I go out there with the intention of winning every game," said Sabathia. "You know, this was the rubber game and I was going up against a tough guy, so I just wanted to pitch as well as I could."
Sabathia has usually pitched well when facing the Orioles. He is 16-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 23 career meetings, though he did get a no-decision against them on April 11. He allowed four runs over six innings in that game, striking out eight.
He'll be opposed by Chen, who has put together a great start to his first major league season. The Taiwan-born rookie is 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA through six starts, allowing two runs or less in five of those.
Chen, 26, is also coming off his best performance of 2012. He went a career- high 7 2/3 innings on Thursday against a tough Texas lineup, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out five to open a doubleheader. The lefty was supported early as the O's opened the game with three straight homers.
"He was outstanding," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said on his team's website. "He was sharp with his breaking ball, [on] the extra days' rest. It seems like he had a little bit more finish on his fastball. He was a difference-maker for us today, and it won't be forgotten."
Chen made his MLB debut on April 10 versus the Yankees and allowed a homer to Derek Jeter, the first hitter he faced in the majors. He ended up with a no- decision, yielding four runs -- two earned -- over 5 2/3 innings of his club's extra-inning setback.
New York won its fourth straight game in Baltimore last night, rallying for an 8-5 win behind Mark Teixeira's go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning. The blast helped the Yankees win for the sixth time in eight games overall.
"That was a huge home run for us to put us ahead 7-5," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about Teixeira's blast. "To get that two-run homer I thought was really important and then we tacked on one with some good at-bats late in the game."
Curtis Granderson also homered and Alex Rodriguez had three hits. Derek Jeter grounded into two double plays but also passed Robin Yount for 16th place on the all-time hits list with a single in the third inning, his 3,143rd hit.
Baltimore went ahead 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth on Xavier Avery's RBI triple and a two-run homer by J.J. Hardy, but couldn't hold the lead and lost its second straight. The O's also fell to 3-5 on a nine-game homestand.
"We took the lead again. We just couldn't hold on to it," said Showalter.
The Yankees swept a three-game series at Camden Yards from April 9-11 and have won 26 of their last 35 games in Baltimore. They have won five of the seven encounters overall this season.
05/15 10:52:43 ET