While Sabathia labeled his year as inconsistent after his last start -- a loss to the Rays -- the 32-year-old has remained consistent in providing innings for New York, just as he has throughout his 12-year career. He went seven in each of his past four starts and threw fewer than that -- six innings in a loss to Baltimore -- only once since going six in his first two starts of the season.
"It's just a matter of me putting together a good game and being able to go out there and dominate someone when I feel good," Sabathia said after striking out a season-high 12 despite allowing three runs in his last start, on Thursday.
Sabathia will try to keep the Yankees atop the American League East, which they share with the Rays by virtue of Monday's 3-0 win, their ninth in 11 games. New York's ace may consider his performance this season inconsistent, but Minor would likely strive for that sort of production. A six-inning start may be short for Sabathia, but Minor has gone that deep only once in six starts since the start of May.
Minor is 1-2 with an 8.60 ERA in that span, with the win coming his last time out, against the Marlins. The left-hander limited Miami to one run over five innings after allowing at least four earned runs in each of his previous six outings.
Minor needed 103 pitches to do it, though, as he walked five batters and allowed four hits.
"I thought he was right around the plate and just missed some pitches," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the Braves' 8-2 win. "He didn't buckle. There was progress there. He gave us five innings. There was a couple of innings where they could have put up a big number, and he didn't let them do that."
It will be a tougher task for Minor against the Yankees' All-Star-laden lineup, even without a designated hitter in Atlanta's National League park. But at least Minor can keep his eye on the mound between innings, taking pointers from an expert in durability.
Yankees: Kuroda, Pettitte recover from bruises
Yankee starters Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte both sacrificed their bodies on the mound to make spectacular defensive plays in their last starts, but neither will miss any time. Kuroda will start the series finale at Turner Field on Wednesday.
A day after a line drive off Kuroda's left foot ended the right-hander's seven-inning, one-hit start prematurely, Kuroda said he would be OK for his next start.
Pettitte confirmed just as quickly on Monday that he'll take the mound on Saturday against the Nationals. Pettitte fielded a comebacker with his bare left hand on Sunday against the Mets. He finished the sixth inning and X-rays were negative, but the bruise remained. Pettitte said he was unable to grip the ball after the injury.
Braves: Beachy pushed back
The Major Leagues' ERA leader will not make his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Yankees, as the Braves have opted to err on the side of caution with Brandon Beachy, who remains unconcerned about slight discomfort near his right elbow.
But because of Thursday's off-day, the Braves will push Beachy's start back to at least Friday, and maybe Saturday, against the Orioles. Tim Hudson will take Beachy's place in the rotation for the series finale against the Yankees.
Hudson is returning from discomfort of his own, as he has battled bone spurs in his left ankle. The right-hander's last start was delayed by a few days, but he threw a bullpen session on Monday without incident.
With Monday's 3-0 win against Randall Delgado, the Yankees improved to 24-9 over the last two seasons in games in which they faced a starting pitcher for the first time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. New York will face another starter for the first time on Tuesday in Minor.
Michael Bourn's single in the first inning on Monday extended his hitting streak to 11 games. The Braves' leadoff hitter went 1-for-4, bringing his average over the 11-game stretch to .413 (19-for-46) with five doubles, two homers and five RBIs.