CC Sabathia owns the lowest qualifying ERA on the New York Yankees and has been beaten just once this season. The ace, however, is still searching for his first win.
That drought appears set to end Friday night.
Sabathia looks to keep the Yankees rolling against the Baltimore Orioles by continuing his own dominance of New York's AL East rivals in the opener of this three-game series in Baltimore.
Sabathia (0-1, 2.52 ERA) has gone four starts without a win, and extending that run Friday would give the left-hander his longest season-opening drought since going 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA though six starts with Cleveland in 2003.
Facing the Orioles (8-10) may be the ideal chance for the four-time All-Star to get his first victory.
Sabathia is 14-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 20 career starts against Baltimore, going 8-1 in 10 visits to Camden Yards and winning the last five with the Yankees (10-6) behind a 2.15 ERA.
That dominance is partly why New York has won 15 of the last 19 meetings with the Orioles, including a rain-shortened two-game sweep at home April 13-14.
The Yankees have won five of seven overall after beating Toronto 6-2 on Wednesday.
"To me, every game means the same, in a sense," manager Joe Girardi told the team's official website. "The games you win now, maybe it's less pressure later on in the season."
Curtis Granderson is providing major punch at the plate, going 10 for 23 with four homers, six RBIs and seven runs over the last six games. He's connected for a homer in three consecutive contests, equaling his career high from Sept. 27-29, 2009.
Granderson is among the MLB leaders with six homers, matching his total through 47 games last year - his first with New York. He's a big reason the Yankees top the majors with 30 homers, and Girardi isn't surprised.
"We always knew he had a lot of power," he said. "I think what you're seeing is more consistent contact, hitting the ball harder on a consistent basis."
Granderson had a pair of doubles in a 6-5, 10-inning win over Baltimore in last week's series finale.
The Orioles have dropped nine of 11 since their 6-1 start, and would like to show some improvement at the plate against Sabathia.
Their .235 average is near the bottom of the AL, and they've scored more than five runs just twice. Baltimore was stifled offensively again Thursday, mustering seven hits in a 3-1 loss to Minnesota to split a four-game set.
Vladimir Guerrero and Matt Wieters accounted for four of the Orioles' hits as they continue to hit the ball hard.
Guerrero has collected six hits with two homers and five RBIs over the last three games, giving him a .322 average while driving in nine runs in his last 14 contests.
Wieters is 7 for 16 with two homers and seven RBIs in the past five games. He had a double and a homer with two RBIs in a 7-4 loss to the Yankees on April 13.
Brad Bergesen (0-2, 3.38) fanned two in two perfect innings of relief in that game, but he's 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees.
The right-hander hopes to bounce back from Sunday's 4-2 loss at Cleveland, where he surrendered three runs and six hits - two homers - in five innings.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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