Saturday, April 16, 2016

Marquee matchup: Felix, CC square off in NY

Former American League Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez, two of baseball's premier pitchers for more than a decade, will square off against each other Saturday afternoon in the middle game of a three-game series between the Yankees and Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
Sabathia, 35, ranks second among active pitchers in wins with 215, four behind Bartolo Colon. Hernandez, 30, is sixth on that list with 143.
The two are on the verge of milestones for their franchises. Hernandez needs five strikeouts to pass Randy Johnson's career record of 2,162 in a Mariners uniform. Sabathia will be making his 200th start for the Yankees, which will make him the 10th pitcher since 1900 to make at least 200 starts for more than one team.
Sabathia, who started 237 games for the Indians, will be the 17th Yankees pitcher to reach 200 starts.
Sabathia won his 2016 debut at Detroit when he allowed three runs and four hits over six innings in an 8-4 victory. He's 12-5 in his career against Seattle with a 2.61 ERA in 24 starts.
Hernandez is still seeking his first win this year despite posting a 0.69 ERA in two outings. The Mariners' ace lost to Texas on Opening Day despite allowing just one hit and one earned run in six innings, then took a no-decision in his last outing against the A's when he threw seven scoreless innings on three hits with 10 strikeouts.
This will be the third time the two veteran hurlers have pitched against each other, with neither earning the decision in two prior meetings at Yankee Stadium in 2013 and '15. Both pitched six innings of one-run ball last year in a game the Yankees won, 2-1, with a run in the eighth. Hernandez held a 3-1 lead over Sabathia in the 2013 meeting when he again allowed one run in six frames, but the Yankees scored three times in the seventh in a 4-3 win.
Things to know about this game
• Mark Teixeira has a history of success against Hernandez, posting a .319 average with six homers and 13 RBIs in 69 at-bats. Brett Gardner has also bothered King Felix, posting a .333 average and a .429 on-base percentage in 30 at-bats.
• While first baseman Adam Lind has hit .467 (7-for-15) against Sabathia in his career, Mariners manager Scott Servais has used right-hander Dae-Ho Lee in a first-base platoon against most southpaw starters, and the 33-year-old Korean slugger is coming off a walk-off homer in Wednesday's 4-2 win over Texas. Sabathia figures to be the only lefty the Mariners see in the next four games, as the Yankees will start right-hander Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday before Seattle heads to Cleveland, where the Indians have an all-righty rotation.
• Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez will get the start against the lefty Sabathia as part of Seattle's right-field platoon. Gutierrez didn't start Friday (he went 1-for-1 with a sac fly and an RBI double after entering as a pinch-hitter), but his .400 average at the new Yankee Stadium ranks third among active players with at least 25 at-bats. The 33-year-old is 18-for-45 with three doubles and two homers in 15 games in the Bronx since 2009.

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