After his winningest April, CC Sabathia will try to give another boost to the injury-plagued New York Yankees with a victorious start to May.
A matchup with the Oakland Athletics might help him do just that.
The left-hander will try to add to his recent success against the A's while helping the Yankees improve to 7-1 on their homestand Friday night.
Sabathia (4-2, 3.35 ERA) picked up a fourth win in April for the first time in his career after lasting eight innings against visiting Toronto on Saturday. He gave up four runs and a season-high nine hits - including the fifth and sixth homers he's allowed in the past three starts - but the Yankees (17-10) rallied for a 5-4 victory.
"The way he competes when he doesn't have his (best) stuff is probably as impressive as anything," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's how you become a 20-game winner."
Sabathia has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last five starts, aiding a team that's without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis among nine players on the disabled list.
Despite an impressive record on this homestand, the Yankees are hardly blowing teams out. New York has outscored its opponents by just two runs - 32-30 - in the past seven games and has won nine of its last 11 by two runs or fewer.
The Yankees took advantage of Lyle Overbay's guile on the basepaths in Wednesday's 5-4 victory over Houston. Overbay made the Astros tag him at second on a double-play grounder in the sixth inning, allowing Eduardo Nunez to score the go-ahead run before the final out.
"We've played well so far," Ben Francisco said. "We've gotten great starting pitching. Our lineup has been doing the job, getting enough runs, and our bullpen has been unbelievable. That's a recipe for success."
Sabathia has possessed the right ingredients in his last 11 starts against Oakland (16-13), going 6-1 with a 2.47 ERA. He's 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the past six and has posted a 1.16 ERA in his last three at home in the series.
In this start, Sabathia will face a team that's won three of four but also has lost five of six on the road. The Yankees have won 11 of 13 at home and are 16-6 overall since their 1-4 start.
A.J. Griffin (2-2, 4.65) will try to help his club snap out of its recent road funk by ending his own woes. The right-hander gave up a combined 13 runs over 11 innings in his last two starts after going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his first three.
After allowing a career-high nine runs in Boston on April 22, Griffin's troubles against Baltimore on Saturday all came in the fourth inning. He gave up all four runs in that frame of a 7-3 loss, including two homers.
"(Griffin) pitched well pretty much every inning but one," manager Bob Melvin told the team's official website. "The big inning has been our Achilles' heel recently."
Griffin went 1-0 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts against New York last season. He gave up four runs over 4 1-3 innings in his only game at Yankee Stadium.
Ichiro Suzuki, 13 for 31 (.419) over his last eight games, is 1 for 3 against Griffin. Jed Lowrie is 5 for 15 against Sabathia while Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss are a combined 0 for 17.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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