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Game 34: CC Sabathia vs. Jeff Francis

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Whenever I send an email to Brian Cashman, I always CC Sabathia.

USA TODAY Sports

Bad news everyone: this is the match-up the Colorado Rockies are not supposed to win in this three game set with the Yankees. The Evil Empire is trotting out their big gun in today's afternoon battle: CC Sabathia. Sabathia hasn't had a full-season ERA above 3.38 since 2005; nor has he been worth fewer than 4.6 Wins Above Replacement, per Fangraphs. Nor has he pitched fewer than 192 innings. In other words, the big lefty is a tough, durable dude.

And yet...there are signs he's not the pitcher he used to be. His fastball velocity is down to an average of 89.9 miles per hour this year, easily the lowest of his career. His average heater sat at 92.3 last year, and 93.8 the year before that. It's possible that the drop in velocity is just early season noise; maybe he's dialing it back a little bit, or maybe he's not totally stretched out. Except it's really not that early anymore.

Furthermore, his FIP is a rather ordinary 3.92 so far in 2013. He hasn't had a full season FIP that high since 2004. So while his ERA so far this year is a perfectly strong 3.31, there are still warning flags flying for Mr. Sabathia. Also, in six starts against the Rockies, his ERA scrapes 6, and at Coors (2 games) it's nearly 9.

Anyway, enough about Carsten Charles. The Rockies are sending Jeff Francis to the mound, who is in desperate need of a good start. He hasn't pitched more than five innings since his first start of the year, and his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.27 on the year. With Tyler Chatwood and Drew Pomeranz dismembering AAA, Jeff needs to prove that he can still be effective. Simply put, he's running out of time.

Tulo's in the lineup! Yaaaay.

Colorado Rockies

1. Eric Young (RF)

2. Dexter Fowler (CF)

3. Troy Tulowitzki (SS)

4. Carlos Gonzalez (LF)

5. Wilin Rosario (C)

6. Nolan Arenado (3B)

7. Jordan Pacheco (1B)

8. Josh Rutledge (2B)

9. Jeff Francis (P)

New York Yankees

1. Brett Gardner (CF)

2. Jayson Nix (SS)

3. Robinson Cano (2B)

4. Vernon Wells (LF)

5. Ben Francisco (RF)

6. Chris Nelson (3B)

7. Lyle Overbay (1B)

8. Chris Stewart (C)

9. CC Sabathia (P)

No Helton or Cuddyer today. It would be nice to pull out a series victory against the Yankees. Let's get 'em Rockies.