Garcia was terrific in his first three starts this month, winning all three and allowing just two runs in each effort. He struck out more than twice as many as he walked, and his ERA was just a shade over 3.00 in those three outings. Garcia's ERA stood at a season-low 4.68 after he beat the Rangers on Aug. 15.
But then came Garcia's last outing, against the White Sox, who plated five runs off him in just 4 1/3 innings. Garcia did match a season high with eight strikeouts but allowed more than four runs in a start for the first time since April.
In 23 career outings (20 starts) against the Indians, Garcia is 8-6 with a 3.83 ERA. The right-hander has faced them so many times, in fact, that he's approaching a milestone. Two more strikeouts against the Tribe for Garcia makes 100, and Cleveland will be the sixth team against which he's accomplished that feat.
Behind Garcia, the Yankees will attempt to grab a series win in Cleveland, where they've played fairly well over the years.
"I don't know -- it's kind of that same question that's asked when you go out west and play the Angels," manager Joe Girardi said. "Even though they've been talented, too, the Yankees have been talented as well."
"I think it's all about winning right now," outfielder Nick Swisher said. "That Chicago series wasn't us, and when you come up in situations like that, especially when things aren't going your way, you try and maybe do a little extra."
The Indians expect a respite from facing a dominant starting pitcher on Sunday. They had little luck against CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda in the first two games of the series, scoring four runs off them, although the Tribe managed to come away with a win on Saturday night thanks to Justin Masterson's strong start. Sabathia and Kuroda ranked 12th and sixth, respectively, in the American League in ERA entering play on Saturday.
Cleveland will counter Ubaldo Jimenez, another former All-Star who hasn't found consistency this season. Entering play on Saturday, no AL pitcher had more losses than Jimenez's 12.
Jimenez is 1-3 with an 8.23 ERA in his last five starts and has surrendered five home runs in his last three outings. The right-hander took a no-decision in his last start, when he gave up three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings against Seattle. Jimenez has won just twice in 10 starts since the start of July.
Yankees: Swisher likes hitting second
Swisher has been on fire since Aug. 8, when he moved up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order, behind Derek Jeter. In his last 17 games, Swisher is batting .333 with 15 runs scored, three doubles, five home runs and 17 RBIs.
"I feel like I'm just trying to go up there and have quality at-bats," Swisher said. "You feel like you're really into the game in that spot. Jeet's been getting on base a lot lately ... but in situations like that, you're just trying to move him over or drive him in, one of the two. I've been feeling pretty good, so I'm just trying to go out there and do my thing."
Swisher is also seeing continued success at Progressive Field. With a hit on Saturday, he has recorded a hit in his last 15 games at Cleveland, where he's batting .352 since Sept. 2, 2008.
Entering Saturday, the Yankees led the Majors with 194 home runs, 27 more than the next-closest team, the White Sox. After Friday's game, their 125th of the season, the Yankees held the franchise record for the most home runs through 125 games -- the seventh most through that many games in Major League history.
Indians: Streak is snapped
Saturday night's win snapped the Tribe's nine-game losing streak, the team's second skid of at least nine games since July 27. The win ended a stretch that saw the Indians get outscored, 54-25, and hit .235. Pitching was also problematic, as the staff posted a 5.79 ERA during the slide.
The Indians are tied for second in the Majors -- behind only the Yankees -- with seven players who have hit at least 10 home runs this season. Shin-Soo Choo leads the team with 15, while Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Shelley Duncan, Travis Hafner and Casey Kotchman have all hit 11 or more.
Despite the fact that Garcia has opposed the Indians many times, he doesn't have much history with these Indians. Only one active Cleveland hitter has more than eight plate appearances against the right-hander: Kotchman, who is 5-for-14 with three doubles and two RBIs lifetime versus Garcia.
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has been held in check by Jimenez over the course of his career, going hitless in 13 at-bats against the righty, striking out six times.