CC Sabathia will look to make history when he pitches for the New York Yankees in the third game of the series Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
Sabathia needs six strikeouts to become the 17th pitcher in major league history to reach 3,000. He currently ranks No. 3 all-time in strikeouts among left-handers, trailing Randy Johnson (4,875) and Steve Carlton (4,136).
At age 38, Sabathia's chances of getting past Carlton or Johnson are remote, but he said he's honored to be in the conversation.
"It's cool, especially that short list of lefties," Sabathia said. "To join that list would be cool, but it's something that I can't really think about now. I'm focusing on making sure that I stay healthy enough to help the team win. I'm glad that I'll be able to get this out of the way kind of early."
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he'd be excited to witness Sabathia make history, especially in Anaheim, where his dad played during the 1980s.
"I grew up in this game loving all that stuff," Boone said. "I was here when Rod Carew got 3,000 hits, when Reggie (Jackson) hit 500 (homers), when Don Sutton got 3,000 strikeouts. Those numbers, I'm nostalgic. I love the history of the game. Now with CC being somebody I got to play against, got to be a teammate with and now get to be his manager, he's somebody I have a ton of respect for."
Sabathia has faced the Angels plenty during his career, going 10-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 22 starts. Angels center fielder Mike Trout has had some success against Sabathia, going 5 for 16 with two home runs. Albert Pujols has one career homer against Sabathia, but is just 5 for 23 overall.
Felix Pena will start for the Angels, still looking for his first win after going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts. Maintaining pitch efficiency has been an issue for Pena, who has lasted five innings in just one game this season.
Pena has pitched against the Yankees once in his career, giving up three runs (two earned) in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
Like Sabathia and the Yankees, the Angels have Albert Pujols closing in on history. He needs one more RBI to tie Lou Gehrig for fourth on the all-time list with 1,994. Hank Aaron ranks No. 1 (2,297), Alex Rodriguez second (2,086) and Barry Bonds is third (1,996).
"At the end of the night, for me, it's going out and trying to do whatever it takes to help this ballclub win," Pujols said. "You can't accomplish things in this game by yourself. There's a lot of pieces and a lot of people that helped me along the way, including my teammates, and coaches and family, everything. It's pretty special."
Angels center fielder Mike Trout will attempt to maintain his streak of reaching base in every game he's played this season. Through his 21 games, Trout leads the majors with a .522 on-base percentage and 24 walks.
--Field Level Media
Sabathia, Pujols chase history as Yankees meet Angels
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