The Minnesota Twins may feel that this weekend represents a good opportunity for them to finally beat CC Sabathia at Target Field.
Sabathia, however, just enjoyed one of his best outings of the year and a huge celebration for his 35th birthday.
He’ll try to improve to 5-0 in as many overall starts at Target Field on Saturday night and help the New York Yankees even this three-game set.
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Sabathia (4-8, 5.25 ERA) has long been a nemesis for Minnesota (52-44) from his days as an AL Central rival with Cleveland. He’s 7-1 with a 2.70 ERA in nine starts against the Twins since joining the Yankees in 2009, including two in the postseason.
His 10-4 home loss to the Twins on July 14, 2013, snapped his 11-game overall winning streak versus them. He has a 3.21 ERA in four outings at Target Field, including the 2010 AL division series opener, with 33 strikeouts in 28 innings.
The left-hander, however, has been among baseball’s worst pitchers with opponents batting .299 against him for one of the majors’ highest marks. Right-handed hitters are batting .330 against him with 18 homers – the most allowed by anyone.
Sabathia has made two starts since June 29, going 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA after having his surgically repaired right knee drained. He gave up one run with seven strikeouts over six innings Sunday opposite Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and did not receive a decision in a 2-1 victory.
"I plan on feeling good the rest of the year," Sabathia said. "It’s just something that I gotta stay on top of and maintain."
Sabathia celebrated his birthday Tuesday with a party thrown by his wife that featured lavish entertainment. Several teammates showed up, with Alex Rodriguez posting an Instagram photo in which he was enjoying a cigar.
New York (53-42) didn’t really show up in Friday’s 10-1 loss in the series opener as its four-game win streak ended. Minnesota’s Trevor Plouffe went 3 for 4 with a homer and a double while Torii Hunter, Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano also went deep.
Eddie Rosario scored three runs and became the first Twin with three doubles since Josmil Pinto on Sept. 9, 2013.
Minnesota has won two straight following a four-game slide and has taken eight of nine at home.
Tommy Milone (5-2, 3.38) will look to win a fourth straight home start, having posted a 1.80 ERA in the last three. He is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in eight starts overall since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on June 4.
The loss was an ugly one as the left-hander was ripped for a season-high seven runs over 2 2-3 innings in Sunday’s 14-1 defeat at Oakland. He surrendered three homers after going five starts without yielding one.
Milone is 0-1 with a 1.32 ERA in two career starts against New York from 2012.
Mark Teixeira is 4 for 7 versus Milone and Carlos Beltran is 3 for 3 with a homer. Chris Young has a double in three at-bats off Milone and will be in the lineup because of his .371 average against lefties.
Plouffe may be forced to leave the Twins before this game to be with his pregnant wife.
"I haven’t thought about who’s going to play or when, how we’ll fill that spot when he’s gone," manager Paul Molitor told MLB’s official website.