Yankees-Orioles Preview

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 Saturday night.

Sabathia looks to keep the Yankees rolling against the Baltimore

Orioles by continuing his dominance of New York’s AL East rivals

after Friday night’s series opener in Baltimore was postponed due

to rain.

Sabathia (0-1, 2.52 ERA) has gone four starts without a win, and

extending that run Saturday 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 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 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 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.

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.

Saturday scheduled starter 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 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.