CC hardly chopped liver in the R.A. Show

CC Sabathia pitches against the Atlanta Braves. (June

CC Sabathia pitches against the Atlanta Braves. (June 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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The R.A. Dickey Show, scheduled for 8 Sunday night, also will feature CC Sabathia in a supporting role. It's not often that the $122-million ace of the Yankees finds himself cast as the underdog, but that's unavoidable in this Subway Series finale.

Dickey, coming off back-to-back one-hitters, has been that good. And like most of the baseball-watching world, Sabathia has noticed.

"It's kind of hard not to," Sabathia said. "If you turn on the TV or turn on 'SportsCenter,' he's been having a great year. Hopefully, he can stay healthy."

On the eve of Sunday night's start against the Mets, Sabathia was asked mostly about Dickey. But he's coming off his own complete game, which he threw against the Braves on Monday, the same night Dickey beat the Orioles with a one-hitter.

Dickey got most of the attention, obviously, but Sabathia (9-3) struck out 10 and allowed only two runs to Atlanta. It was his fourth win in five starts and trimmed his ERA to 3.55.

One of the keys for Sabathia that night was his sinker, so if he's getting groundouts from the Mets, it will be an indication that the pitch is working again.

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"Yeah, it felt pretty good the other day," Sabathia said. "That's still kind of a hit-or-miss pitch with me just because I haven't thrown it that long. So if we have it, it's a plus. If not, we'll try to go to some other things to get some ground balls."

One thing Sabathia has never dreamed of experimenting with is a knuckler, even just fooling around playing catch. For conventional pitchers, it's just too radical to mess with, from the weird grip to the stiff delivery.

There's no point. And if someone plans to develop a knuckler, it takes years to command, as Dickey's long journey has shown. It was enough to spawn a book and movie.

"That is kind of cool," Sabathia said. "The fact that he did pitch in the big leagues and was like a sinker-slider guy and was able to master the knuckleball. To be able to put together the season that he's having is pretty cool."

Sabathia is 22-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 44 career interleague starts, and his .733 winning percentage is the second-best behind Mark Buehrle's .750 (24-8) among pitchers with a minimum of 35 starts.

Then again, pitching against the Mets is likely to be the least of Sabathia's problems Sunday night. Hitting against Dickey will be the hard part. Sabathia has never faced a knuckleballer and he's not quite sure how that's going to go. The best comparison he could make was playing Wiffle ball as a kid, and it's been a while since those days.

"I'm sure his knuckleball is a little better than my cousin's Wiffle ball in the back yard," Sabathia said. "We'll see."

As for any special preparation, Sabathia smiled.

"No, not me," he said. "I've just been taking BP and making sure I stay loose and don't hurt myself while I'm swinging."

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