It's rare for CC Sabathia to go too many starts without a win. But currently, the Yankees' ace has gone five consecutive starts without a victory, dating back to a May 3 win over the Orioles.
So Sabathia has to be happy to see Baltimore on the docket for Thursday's series finale, hoping the O's will help jolt him out of his slump when the two teams square off in the Bronx.
A streak of this length is definitely rare for Sabathia, who endured a stretch of five consecutive starts without a win in July 2005, when he was with the Indians. Despite its significance, Sabathia knows he can't dwell on the streak.
"I'm definitely aware of it, but you can't let it affect the way you go about your business," Sabathia said. "It's part of the game. I've been in stretches longer than this."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn't doubt that the winless stretch is affecting Sabathia and knows a win would go a long way toward remedying the issue.
"I don't know if he loses confidence, but I know you become frustrated in that instance," Girardi said. "CC knows he's a very polished pitcher, and he's not used to going through five or six starts like this, so I think frustration can definitely settle in. He needs to get a win."
The Orioles, though, will be trying to avoid their eighth consecutive loss, turning to a veteran pitcher of their own in Kevin Millwood.
Millwood is trying to reverse his own losing trend, as he's started the season 0-5, though that's not entirely indicative of his season. The right-hander has been victimized at times by poor defense and a lack of offense; his 3.98 ERA is the lowest for any starter who opened the season with 11 winless decisions since Rick Langford had a 2.62 ERA after 11 such starts in 1978 for the A's.
"We are letting him down," catcher Matt Wieters said of Millwood. "He's going out there and battling. He definitely throws against the aces of other staffs, but we have to do a better job of putting together runs [and] giving him a lead."
Wieters and the rest of the O's will try to get Millwood an early lead against Sabathia and pick up a win in the series finale before heading out of town. But Millwood's competition in Sabathia is fierce, which hasn't escaped the notice of Orioles manager Dave Trembley.
"It would be nice for him to get one," Trembley said of Millwood. "It doesn't get any easier -- every guy he faces is the other team's ace. We will have to see if we can come out and do something with Sabathia and get them early."
Orioles: Yanks a problem to be solved
The O's have now dropped six straight contests to the Yankees, and their biggest troubles have come at the plate, particularly with runners in scoring position. In such situations against New York, Baltimore has three hits in its past 43 at-bats. The Orioles stranded nine runners in Wednesday's 9-1 loss.
Yankees: Posada eases his way back
The Yankees got a big boost on Wednesday night, when switch-hitting slugger Jorge Posada returned to the lineup after being activated from the 15-day disabled list. He will occasionally serve as the designated hitter, at least for a few games. After suffering a fracture in his right foot earlier this season, Posada won't be rushed back behind the plate. "We'll play it by ear every day," Girardi said. "We want Jorgie to catch; that's the bottom line. But we'll do what we think the best lineup is every day. It's not just based on one person -- it's based on all of the parts that are here."
Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 16 games on Wednesday. He has recorded a multihit game in each of his past seven contests. ... Miguel Tejada went 3-for-4 with two doubles in Wednesday's O's loss.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.