04/22/10 3:50 AM ET
Lefties meet as Yanks go for sweep
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Obviously, there's nothing surprising about Yankees lead dog CC Sabathia being put in the ace category. New York -- winners of six straight games -- shelled out big bucks to pry him from free agency before the 2009 season, and he won 19 games to help lead the Bronx Bombers to a World Series championship.
But on the other side of the diamond, Oakland southpaw Dallas Braden appears to be quietly emerging as one of the American League's more reliable starters.
Sabathia, who grew up in Vallejo, Calif., not far from Oakland, hasn't disappointed in early 2010. He was dominant in his last start, a brilliant -- albeit rain-shortened -- performance against the Rangers along the same lines as his previous outing, a near no-hitter against the Rays.
Sabathia gave up an early run in his last outing, but he retired 17 of his final 19 batters faced and struck out nine, including six in a row at one point.
"Usually I get off to a pretty slow start, but my stuff is right where I want it to be right now," Sabathia said. "I just need to keep it going -- keep working hard and try to keep it going the rest of the year."
Meanwhile, Braden is on a roll as well.
In his last start, Braden continued to dominate the Baltimore Orioles, as he's done throughout his career. Braden allowed two runs over seven innings while improving to 5-1 lifetime with a 1.57 ERA against Baltimore. He struck out four and walked one, moving to 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA on the season.
"Everybody's getting key hits in key situations," A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney said after playing behind Braden. "Our pitching's unbelievable. If we can go out there and put some runs on the board ... we've got a chance every night."
Yankees: Winn makes a start
Randy Winn logged his second start with the Yankees on Wednesday, filling in for Nick Swisher, who received a scheduled day off. ... Brett Gardner started Tuesday against left-hander Gio Gonzalez and might start again on Thursday against Braden. ... Sabathia is 5-7 with a 5.80 ERA against his hometown team; that's his highest ERA against an AL team that he doesn't pitch for. He is 2-4 with a 6.35 ERA in nine starts at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, but he did win in his one start there last season. The Athletics have hit a combined .213 against Sabathia.
A's: Ellis heads to DL
A's second baseman Mark Ellis was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a strained left hamstring. Ellis had missed seven games because of the injury, which was aggravated in his first at-bat during Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Yankees. He went 0-for-2 before leaving the game in the sixth inning, and manager Bob Geren said a recent MRI showed tendinitis near the back of Ellis' hamstring. ... In four career games (one start) against New York, Braden has allowed 14 hits and eight runs in just 9 1/3 innings. He's 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA against the Yankees.
Over the Yankees' current six-game winning streak, they have held opponents to three runs or fewer in each game, outscoring opponents, 36-13. ... Derek Jeter needs two doubles to tie Don Mattingly (442) for second place on the franchise's all-time list. Mariano Rivera needs two strikeouts to tie Roger Clemens (1,014) for 10th place in franchise history. ... A's outfielder Travis Buck was a late scratch from Wednesday's lineup because of a right oblique strain. Buck was replaced in left field by Eric Patterson, who slid into the No. 9 spot in the lineup just minutes before the first pitch was thrown by Ben Sheets.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.