CC Sabathia shakes off postseason slump with big outing

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CC Sabathia managed to avoid taking any losses during the Yankees’ all too brief postseason runs in 2010 and 2011, but he couldn’t sidestep the criticism  The game’s highest-paid pitcher, he was far from an ace in amassing a 5.84 ERA in 24 2/3 innings the last two Octobers.

Sabathia’s 2012 postseason got off to a much better start Sunday, as he limited the Orioles to two runs in 8 2/3 innings to pick up a win in Game 1 of the ALDS. It was the first time since the 2009 World Series that Sabathia completed seven innings in a postseason start.

Sabathia was stellar when the Yankees won the World Series in his first year with the team, going 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts. Still, Yankee fans have short memories, and his more recent outings in series losses to the Rangers and Tigers left them cold. He gave up six runs and walked eight in 8 2/3 innings in last year’s ALDS defeat.

For his career, Sabathia is now 8-4 in the postseason, albeit with a mediocre 4.60 ERA. He came within one out tonight of what would have been his first postseason complete game in 16 tries.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.

Mariners designate Leonys Martin for assignment

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The Mariners made a handful of roster moves on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. The club optioned pitcher Chase De Jong to Triple-A Tacoma, designated outfielder Leonys Martin for assignment, and recalled first baseman Dan Vogelbach and pitcher Chris Heston from Triple-A.

Martin, 29, struggled to start the season, batting .111/.172/.130 in 58 plate appearances. As Divish noted, Martin was very popular with his teammates in Seattle, so the move was particularly difficult. He is owed the remainder of his $4.85 million salary, making it likely that he’ll clear waivers.

De Jong, 23, struggled in 4 2/3 innings of relief, yielding three runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts.

Heston, 29, got off to a good start with Tacoma, putting up a 3.18 ERA over his first three starts.

Vogelbach, 24, was hitting .309/.409/.473 with a pair of home runs in 66 PA with Tacoma, encouraging his call-up.