05/28/10 11:30 PM ET
CC set to host club that groomed him
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The Indians will send David Huff, the club's top selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, to the hill against Yankees ace CC Sabathia, Cleveland's No. 1 pick in 1998.
However, it could be the hitting -- not the pitching -- that makes the difference in the second game of this four-game series. The Yankees rattled off 12 hits in Friday's 8-2 victory after scoring a total of 15 runs in their previous six games.
"It's something we've gone through," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "[Mark Teixeira] started swinging the bat better. Robby [Cano] has been pretty consistent. We need to get [Alex Rodriguez] going again. Is it an immediate concern? Yeah, you want those guys swinging the bat. Long term? No. But immediate, you want the guys swinging the bats like they're capable of. When those guys struggle a little bit, it's tougher to score runs."
In short, the Yankees are not worried about their recent struggles at the plate.
"I don't think there's any sense of urgency or any sense of panic at all by anybody in this clubhouse," Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson said. "There's so much baseball left to be played."
As for Huff, he wasn't perfect in his most recent start, against the Reds, but he showed much improvement over previous efforts and might have calmed some talk about a possible demotion to the Minors. In that outing, Huff ended a streak of five straight starts with a loss.
"I was kind of going down the wrong path and getting away from what I do," Huff said. "[Manager] Manny [Acta] and [pitching coach] Tim [Belcher] saw that and yelled at me. They lit a fire under me."
Sabathia allowed six runs, including two home runs to Jason Bay, on 10 hits in five innings against the Mets in his most recent start. The left-hander has not won since May 3 at Baltimore, a span of four starts, although he was one out shy of qualifying for a victory on May 8 when rain forced him from a 14-3 win over the Red Sox.
"I felt like I had pretty good stuff, but I just didn't make good pitches when I needed to," Sabathia said after his last outing. "I just didn't follow the game plan. I was staying out there too much, and when I went soft, [Bay] put some good swings on pitches out over the plate."
Overall, Sabathia is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two career starts against the Indians.
Indians: Hafner heating up
Travis Hafner has reached safely in 19 consecutive games and is batting .375 (24-for-64) with five doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs and 12 walks during that stretch. On Friday, his 12-game hitting streak -- which was tied for the second longest of his career -- came to an end. ... Russell Branyan has homered in his past two games at Yankee Stadium. His previous home run came last July 2 and remains the only homer to hit the glass facing of the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar on a fly since the new Yankee Stadium opened at the start of last season.
Yankees: Cano cleans up
Cano hit his third career grand slam in Friday's win and leads the Yankees this season with 10 home runs, seven of which have come against left-handed pitching. He hit cleanup on Friday and has now batted in every spot in the starting lineup during his Major League career. He also extended his hitting streak to 11 games, tying the Yankees' season high. ... Nick Swisher is batting .351 with 18 runs, seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 22 games this month. He hit a combined .164 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 54 games over his previous two Mays (2008-09). ... Derek Jeter is 10-for-22 (.455) over his past five games.
Prior to Saturday's game, the Yankees will honor the Tuskegee Airmen with a pregame ceremony. ... The Indians are 0-1 against the Yankees this season and 7-15 against them since the start of 2007. The Tribe has lost 20 of its past 29 regular-season contests to New York.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.