The Orioles know that C.C. Sabathia is one of the best pitchers in the game, but they have to be going into Sunday’s American League Division Series opener confident given their success against the Yankees left-hander this season.
Sabathia is winless in three starts with a 6.38 ERA against the Orioles this season, with Baltimore winning those last two starts. He’s allowed at least four runs in each of those outings and hasn’t lasted more than 6 1/3 innings in any of those starts.
The Orioles are hitting .312 off Sabathia this season, the highest average of any American League team.
“Just with me it's just command, starting with fastball command,” Sabathia said Saturday. “They have a great lineup, and I've faced these guys a lot, and they know what I am trying to do. It's just up to me to go out and execute pitches, and you know, make sure I keep the ball down and get the ball in where I need to and go out and make pitches.”
Granted, Sabathia is 16-4 with a 3.12 ERA in his career against the Orioles, but combine this year’s success against Sabathia with his recent postseason struggles and the O’s can afford to be optimisitc.
“Why are they here?" Sabathia said. “I mean, it's a good team. Adam Jones has gotten a lot better, obviously. Mark Reynolds has gotten adjusted to the American League and is swinging the bat well. Wieters has gotten better over the years, so they've just gotten a bunch of talented guys that have gotten a lot better and they've made it tough on me. Hopefully [Sunday] night, like I said, I can go out and command the baseball like I want to and make pitches and be successful.”
Sabathia pitched to a 6.23 ERA in last year’s American League Division Series, which the Tigers won in five games. Dating back to the 2010 postseason, Sabathia has a 5.84 ERA.
“As far as CC, I don't think you can make too much of last year just because of the way the schedule was,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We started a game and stopped it, and then he came back on short rest, so I don't really make too much of that.. … He's pitched pretty well for the most part.”