Phil Hughes got back on track against the weak-hitting Indians Friday night. This afternoon it’s CC Sabathia’s turn. Two of CC’s last three starts have been duds (total line in those two games: 11 IP, 19 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 4 HR, 2 BB, 10 K), and in his last four starts, Sabathia has allowed six home runs, many of them on two-seamers up in the zone. CC has quite simply been off his game, and now’s the time for him to put it back together.
Sabathia has faced his old team just once since being traded to Milwaukee in July 2008. That came one day shy of a year ago, when he twirled a solid seven innings against them in a 10-5 Yankee win in Cleveland. Today, he faces fellow lefty David Huff, a 25-year-old with little to offer who has made just two quality starts in eight tries this season and has gotten just 2.57 runs of support on average on his way to leading the American League in losses. Huff, who faces the Yankees for the first time this afternoon, is a fly ball pitcher with poor velocity who doesn’t strike anyone out (he’s struggling to keep his strikeouts above his walks this season). The Yankees should eat him alive.
Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli return to the lineup, while Curtis Granderson sits against the lefty in favor of Kevin Russo, who will start in left. Nick Swisher bats second. Bottom four below Cano: Thames (DH), Cervelli, Russo, Gardner (CF). Girardi says he’s “easing” Granderson back in. Old pal Shelley Duncan draws the DH start for the Tribe against the lefty Sabathia.