ANAHEIM, Calif. (CBSNewYork) — Expect CC Sabathia to be extremely pumped up on Wednesday night.
The 38-year-old left-hander will take the ball in the third game of the Yankees’ four-game series against the Angels with a serious milestone within his grasp.
Sabathia, who will retire at season’s end, sits just six strikeouts shy of 3,000 in his exemplary career. Except for Roger Clemens, whose candidacy has been checkered due to performance-enhancing drug allegations, no pitcher that has reached that milestone has missed induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Yankees (13-10) have dealt with an extraordinary number of injuries during the first month of the season, but are currently riding a five-game winning streak and are just 2 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East. Sabathia said milestone aside, his goal Wednesday is to help the Bombers move a little closer to the top spot in the division.
“Getting it out of the way early would be great,” Sabathia said of reaching 3,000 sooner rather than later. “It’s not something I am focusing on. I’m making sure I stay healthy enough to help the team win.
“I don’t think you can block it out of your mind. You try to make pitches and not think about it,” he added.
A native of nearby Mission Viejo, California, Sabathia has been impressive since coming back from offseason health problems and a five-game suspension that resulted from an incident that happened in his last start of the 2018 season, going 1-0 and not allowing an earned run in two starts. His eight Ks in 10 innings have left him in 17th place on the all-time strikeout list. He is third among left-handers behind Randy Johnson (4,875) and Steve Carlton (4,136).
Sabathia is 247-153 with a 3.69 ERA during his 19-year career and has pitched well against the Angels, going 10-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 22 starts, including 5-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 13 starts at Angel Stadium.
The big man will likely have his starting catcher back as well, as the Yankees are expected to activate Gary Sanchez from the injured list prior to the game.