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Thursday, September 23, 2010
First Pitch: Price and Sabathia meet again

By Jeremy Lundblad

Today’s Trivia: If David Price wins, he will join Jon Lester and CC Sabathia with 18 wins. All lefties, all in the AL East. The last time three AL East left-handers won 18 games was 1979. Can you name the three lefties?

Quick Hits: Just 10 days after their epic matchup, Sabathia and Price are at it again. Both pitchers went eight scoreless innings in the first one, so what are some fun things to look for this time around?

Sabathia" Sabathia is 11-1 at home this season. He could become the first New York Yankees pitcher to finish 12-1 at home since Ron Guidry in 1978. The last AL pitcher to go 12-1 at home was Curt Schilling for the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

• Sabathia is 19-1 when receiving at least three runs of support.

• Sabathia tied for the AL lead with 19 wins last season, and is on his way to a solo title in 2010. The last Yankee to lead the league in wins in back-to-back seasons? Sorry, it’s never happened before!

• A win would give Sabathia 40 over the past two years. The last Yankees pitcher with 40 wins over two seasons was Tommy John, who won 43 in 1979 and 1980.

Price" Price has faced 183 left-handed hitters this season without allowing a home run. That’s the most for an AL pitcher since Kevin Brown faced 184 for the 2005 Yankees. Before that, you have to go back to Scott Schoeneweis (217 in 2001).

• Price is 8-2 with a 2.16 ERA against AL East opponents this season. Those numbers are unprecedented in the wild-card era. The last pitcher with eight wins and an ERA below 2.20 against the AL East? Kansas City Royals pitcher Kevin Appier, who was 11-2 with a 1.60 ERA against the AL East in 1992. Oddly, he was just 4-5 with a 3.74 ERA against his own division.

• Only Fausto Carmona (1.52) has a lower ERA than Price (1.55). But more amazing is the fact that Price is holding opposing hitters to a .133 batting average this month. The last AL starter to do that in September was Ken Hill in 1997, when he held opponents to a .126 average.

Today’s Leaderboard: Bad news for leadoff hitters. Hitters in the one-spot are batting .160 against Sabathia and .174 against Price, who rank second and fifth, respectively, in that category.

Key Matchups:
Carlos Pena is 0-for-6 with 5 K’s against Sabathia this season. In fact, he’s fanned 19 times in 35 at-bats against the big lefty, so it’s no surprise that he’s not expected to be in the lineup Thursday. His likely replacement is Dan Johnson, who is 5-for-9 against Sabathia in his career, though the two haven’t faced each other since 2007.

Derek Jeter entered this season with just one hit in 10 career AB against Price, but is 4-for-10 this year. Other Yankees haven’t had the same success in changing their luck. Jorge Posada is now 1-for-15 lifetime, though that one hit did come this year. Curtis Granderson is 1-for-8 with 5 K’s this season, and is now a .154 career hitter against Price.

Trivia Answer: In 1979, Mike Flanagan went 23-9 on his way to the Cy Young. The other two AL East southpaws were both Yankees: Tommy John (21-9) and Ron Guidry (18-8).