“The 2007 Indians I played on,” Sabathia said. “We had been playing well all year, it wasn’t just like it came out of nowhere (at the end of the season). We had been playing well all year, the fans start buying back in, the city starts buying back in. You got some guys getting hot, and it kind of took off. I’ve been on a team like that before, and like I said, you get more confidence as you start playing those bigger games.
“It’s up to us and myself (tonight) to pitch well and try to put an end to it.”
Even when he’s having a so-so season by his standard, Sabathia retains one perfectly ace-like quality: He manages to relish a game like tonight without getting too worked up about it. Yesterday he was almost laughing while answering questions about the pressure of the division race and the need to win a game against a hard-charging team like the Orioles.
“I wish I could tell you guys I feel some added pressure or something, but I don’t,” he said. “I always feel like that, every start. It’s just how I am. Maybe when I was younger, I could tell you, I feel like I needed to go out and throw a no-hitter. But I don’t. I feel like I need to go out and help this team win, whatever it takes. … I haven’t always been that way. When I was younger, and Bartolo left (Cleveland) – he got traded – and we’d have a losing streak, I’d need to go out and throw a shutout, have some amazing game. But as I’ve gotten older, and made a lot of big starts, I just go out and do the same thing as I always would. Be myself, stay even-keeled, let my ability take over, I guess.”
Associated Press photo