Left-hander CC Sabathia takes the mound for the Yankees in the rubber game of the 2011 American League Division Series rematch. Sabathia is rounding into form after two rough starts to open the season, winning his last two outings.
His most recent victory came against a loaded Rangers lineup, and Sabathia will need to have the same focus against a Tigers offense that, while scuffling as of late, has scored at least six runs in each of its past two games.
"I was able to establish the fastball and just pitch from there," Sabathia said of his success against the Rangers. "It gives you confidence, but this is a good lineup, so you can't really slack off or have a mental lapse at all."
The Tigers are a familiar foe for Sabathia, who is 15-12 with a 4.52 ERA in 32 career starts against them. Perennial All-Star Miguel Cabrera is hitting .563 (9-for-16) with two home runs in his career against Sabathia, while backup catcher Gerald Laird could find his way into Sunday's starting lineup as he has great history -- .471 (8-for-17) with two doubles and a homer -- against the left-hander.
Inconsistent right-hander Max Scherzer takes the mound for Detroit. Scherzer followed two quality starts with a less-than-stellar outing his last time out, giving up five runs in five innings against the Mariners.
For all his ups and downs, Scherzer has elevated his game when facing the Yankees in his career. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three career starts against New York, with Yankees batters hitting .222 against him.
Tigers: Cabrera and Boesch love NY
After going 2-for-4 with three RBIs in Saturday's win, Cabrera now has hit safely in 30 of his 32 career games against the Yankees. He's batting .377 with six doubles, 11 home runs and 30 RBIs in his career against New York.
Cabrera isn't the only Tiger that enjoys seeing Yankees pitching. Outfielder Brennan Boesch has hit safely in 12 of 14 career games against the Yankees while batting .400.
Ryan Raburn sat out Saturday's game with a tight hamstring. If Raburn can't go Sunday, manager Jim Leyland said Danny Worth could get the start at second base. Worth took the roster spot of Delmon Young, who was placed on Major League Baseball's restricted list following his arrest for aggravated harassment.
Yankees: A-Rod adjusts
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is 4-for-7 in his past two days and, prior to Saturday's game, credited a Friday-morning session with hitting coach Kevin Long as a big reason for his success in the series opener, when he hit his 633rd career home run.
"We figured out a few things, and hopefully we can keep riding that," Rodriguez said. "For the most part, it's swinging at strikes and, for me, hitting the ball up the middle, getting the ball in the air or to the opposite field. Those are all things that are very good for me."
Hitters are batting .357 against Scherzer this season.