CC Sabathia says Yankees, not Red Sox, are the team to beat

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Asked yesterday what the Red Sox adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to their lineup does to the AL East picture, CC Sabathia predictably responded that the Yankees remain the team to beat in 2011.

You want me to say the Red Sox are the favorites? I mean … I think the Yankees. If you look in our clubhouse and look at our lineup and the things we can do, it’s hard not to like our chances.

Sabathia’s quote is pretty innocuous and anything but surprising, yet it somehow made back-page headlines in the New York Daily News (and its own post here, which I suppose makes me a co-conspirator). He even went on to say that the Red Sox “made some good moves” and “any time you can add a guy like Carl, and Adrian, that makes your lineup that much better” while adding that the Yankees are “just getting started” with their offseason additions (read: Lee, Cliff).

Also of note: Tampa Bay actually won the AL East this year. And in 2008.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.