Yankees-Braves Preview

CC Sabathia, who owns 20 career interleague wins to match

baseball’s seventh-highest all-time total, has enjoyed very good

run support all season.

The New York Yankees have to feel good about maintaining that

trend as they get ready to face one of baseball’s worst

pitchers.

The visiting Yankees can stretch their winning streak to five

Tuesday night as they face Atlanta Braves left-hander Mike Minor

for the first time.

New York (35-25) won 3-0 in Monday’s opener of this three-game

set as Ivan Nova pitched seven innings for his eighth victory.

Sabathia (7-3, 3.69 ERA) can join Nova as an eight-game winner.

He enters with a 20-8 interleague record and a 3.45 ERA in 42

outings, including 8-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 with the Yankees.

He hasn’t always been at his best this year, though. Sabathia

struck out a season-high 12 last Thursday but gave up five runs

over seven innings in a 7-3 defeat to Tampa Bay.

The Yankees are 8-4 in the starts by the ace left-hander, who

has enjoyed a run-support average of 6.43.

Sabathia is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in two career starts against the

Braves (34-27). He usually enjoys getting the chance to swing a bat

in NL parks as a career .250 hitter.

The Yankees are an AL-best 12-7 against left-handed starters,

and should be eagerly awaiting their first look at Minor (3-4,

6.57) – tied with Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar for baseball’s worst

ERA.

Minor is 0-2 with a 9.56 ERA in his last three home outings. His

14 homers allowed are the most by an NL pitcher while New York has

gone deep 93 times to lead the majors.

The southpaw, however, can feel somewhat good about a

five-inning stint Thursday in which he gave up one run despite

walking five to get credit for an 8-2 victory at Miami. He held an

opponent to fewer than four runs for the first time since April

24.

“He didn’t buckle,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “There was

progress there.”

The Yankees have now won 14 of 18 after Nova’s effort Monday

helped lower the rotation’s major league-best ERA in June to

1.76.

“Our starting pitching has been really good, and that’s how you

put streaks together,” manager Joe Girardi said.

New York moved into a tie with the Rays atop the AL East by

showcasing their trademark terrific defense as Nick Swisher took a

possible homer away from Brian McCann in the fourth inning.

The Yankees’ 24 errors are the fewest in the majors.

“It’s been so much fun coming to the ballpark,” Swisher said. “I

feel collectively as a team we’ve been playing some great

ball.”

The Braves have dropped back-to-back games after a season-high

six-game win streak. They were shut out at home for the second time

this year.

Girardi said he held out closer Rafael Soriano, who developed “a

little blister” on his right index finger while blowing his first

save Sunday against the Mets.

“He said he was OK, but I’m not comfortable,” Girardi said. “So

give him one more day.”

A key possible matchup to watch late is if Soriano faces Dan

Uggla, who is 5 for 11 with three homers against him.