CC Sabathia has thrown more innings against only one other team (Kansas City) than the Twins in his career. Among teams he's thrown more than 70 innings against, he's only fared better against the Reds (2.33 ERA), Mariners (2.58) and Orioles (2.86). In 191.2 innings against Minnesota (mostly in his days as an Indian), he's put up a 3.05 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP and 2.3 K/BB. Of course, he hasn't actually faced the Twins since last October when he threw 6.2 frames of one earned run, eight K, no walk ball in an ALDS Game 1 win.
Against Minnesota's individual hitters, only two have an .800+ OPS against the big man: Jim Thome (.826) and Alexi Casilla (1.538). Every other Twin outside of Denard Span (.714) has a sub-.600 OPS against CC, truly remarkable considering the quality hitters they have and the number of times they've faced him.
Somewhat worrisome is that Sabathia will be pitching on eight days of rest. In 39 career starts on 6+ days of rest, his ERA is 4.02 compared to about 3.55 on 4 or 5 days of rest. Being 6'7" makes it tougher to regain his mechanics, which is probably the reason he doesn't usually get going until May.
CC's been phenomenal this past month. His 3.35 September ERA belies how great he's truly been. What that doesn't show is how he held batters to a .206/.269/.284 line.
Francisco Liriano has been almost equally good against the Yankees (albeit in a much smaller sample size). In five games, including four starts, the lefty is 0-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 26 innings. Two of those starts came this season when he allowed five earned runs in 13 frames (3.46 ERA).
Look for Marcus Thames to start - he's had major success against Liriano: in 15 PA, he has five hits including three homers. However, our 3-4 hitters struggle mightily: Tex and A-Rod are a combined 4-16 with one XBH against the lefty.
Liriano has fared better on extra rest than on normal rest so far in his career: 3.75 ERA on 6+ days of rest vs. 4.44 on the normal 4 days. However, he didn't finish the regular season particularly well, recording a 4.29 ERA in September and conceding five runs in two of his last three games.
Jerry Crawford is behind the plate and is known as one of the most hitter-friendly umpires.
The game-thread will post at 8:00 p.m.