Dodgers send rookie Gonsolin to face Yanks legend Sabathia

When the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees continue their showdown series Saturday afternoon, a pair of pitchers will square off on the opposite ends of their big league journeys.

The Yankees will send veteran CC Sabathia (5-7, 5.01 ERA) to the mound in the middle game of the series as he continues through the back half of his 19th and final season with one more playoff run in mind.

The Dodgers will counter with rookie Tony Gonsolin (1-1, 3.00 ERA), who will be making just his fourth career start and his fifth appearance. He made his major league debut on June 26.

In a matchup of teams that have squared off in the World Series 11 times, though not since 1981, the Yankees won the series opener 10-2 on Friday, backed by five home runs, including both a grand slam and a solo shot from Didi Gregorius.

Sabathia hopes to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the series after lasting just three innings and giving up four runs on four hits Sunday against the Cleveland Indians. He was his first game back from the injured list after he missed three weeks because of right knee inflammation.

"Just a little rusty, but I felt really good," Sabathia said after the outing against the Indians. "I feel like it's something I can build off of."

Sabathia struggled in the four starts before landing in the IL, going 0-2 with a 7.17 ERA over 21 1/3 innings. He gave up nine home runs in those four appearances. He is 1-0 against the Dodgers in three career starts with a 0.84 ERA.

However, he has the benefit that comes with the knowledge of pitching in 556 games (all starts) and 3,563 1/3 innings. Gonsolin has only has 18 innings under his belt.

What Gonsolin lacks in experience, he makes up for with a run of recent success that figures to give him more opportunities down the stretch.

After an impressive four-inning relief outing at Colorado on July 30, he has made two starts this month, pitching 10 total innings and giving up just one run. He has thrown as many as 90 pitches in a major league outing.

He has not yet faced the Yankees, who already know they will have to earn things at the plate. Gonsolin might be new to the game's highest level, but he has shown enough control to walk just one batter while striking out 15.

There were no rave reviews for his four-inning start Sunday at Atlanta, but he did just give up one run and didn't walk a batter, even if he yielded five hits and threw 72 pitches in order to record 12 outs.

The outing was a learning experience, as Gonsolin appeared to run out of gas in his final inning.

"I wouldn't say the stamina was getting down or anything like that," Gonsolin said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I think I can do a better job of staying hydrated, for sure."

Despite the defeat Friday, the Dodgers have lost just twice in their past 12 home games.

The Yankees are a major-league-best 43-19 since June 15 and 76-36 since April 19. New York has lost just two of its past 20 series.

--Field Level Media
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