As usual, C.C. Sabathia is on a second-half role. After a typical rocky start to the season, he's now 13-3 with a 3.18 ERA. Not coincidentally the Yankees (63-35) have the best record in baseball.

More importantly, Sabathia has really kept his command in order. He hasn't given up a home run in over 66 innings. He hasn't given up more than three earned runs in a game since a May 29 loss to Cleveland and has gone into the seventh inning in each of his last 10 starts.

Did we forget to mention that Sabathia has won his last nine decisions? He's 9-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his last 10 starts. 

The Indians (41-58) will counter with Josh Tomlin, who's making his MLB debut.

Tonight Sabathia will face those same Cleveland Indians. In the May 29 loss to Cleveland, Sabathia was tagged for five runs over six innings. 

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Offensively, everyone knows Alex Rodriguez is looking for his 600th homerun. If he does it tonight against Cleveland, he'll probably be the first (and probably only) player to do it on his birthday. Rodriguez turns 35 today.

As well as the Yankees have played, this is an important three-game stretch against Cleveland. After Cleveland is three games on the road against Tampa Bay, followed by a seven-game home stand against Toronto (3) and Boston and a two-game stop in Texas.

Winning nine of 12 would bring the Yankees, who lead Tampa Bay by three games, a lot closer to locking up the division.  It could also allow the Yankees to allow Andy Pettitte a little more time to rest.

 Notes: Nick Swisher raised his average from .287 to .301 in July, going 28-for-81 with five home runs and 12 RBIs...Derek Jeter is 10-for-27 with seven runs scored in his last six games...