Sabathia should be favored Friday night in the opener of this three-game set when Casey Crosby makes his major-league debut on the mound for the Detroit Tigers.
The Yankees ace is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in three regular-season starts at Detroit since joining New York (27-23) in 2009. Sabathia (6-2, 3.66 ERA) also gave up four runs over 5 1-3 innings and did not get a decision in a 5-4 defeat at Comerica in Game 3 of an AL division series last year.
Sabathia limited the Tigers (24-27) to two runs over eight innings and struck out eight in a 6-2 home win April 29. He won for the first time in three outings Saturday by yielding two runs over seven innings in a 9-2 rout of Oakland.
With the Tigers placing Doug Fister on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, the club will call up Crosby from Triple-A Toledo to make his debut. Crosby went 4-2 with a 4.26 ERA in nine 2012 starts for the Mud Hens.
The 23-year-old left-hander is a 2007 Detroit fifth-round pick who chose baseball after committing to the University of Illinois as a wide receiver. He underwent Tommy John surgery in '07 and nearly beat out Drew Smyly for a rotation spot in spring training.
Manager Jim Leyland lauded Crosby's curveball during the spring, but the southpaw's fastball command was cited as a concern by general manager Dave Dombrowski.
New York headed east on the final stop of this road trip after going 4-2 against the Athletics and Angels. The Yankees swept Oakland and lost twice to the Angels before avoiding a sweep with Wednesday's 6-5 victory.
"It's nice, I mean 4-2 so far on this road trip sounds a lot better than 3-3," manager Joe Girardi said.
Detroit capped a 4-6 trip with Thursday's 7-3 win at Boston. Quintin Berry - playing center field for the injured Austin Jackson - had three hits, scored two runs and stole two bases as the Tigers avoided a four-game sweep.
"I got back to playing my game tonight on the bases,'' Berry said.
Catcher Alex Avila left in the third for precautionary reasons after getting hit in the helmet with a foul ball but had no symptoms of a concussion. Outfielder Andy Dirks did not start for the second straight game with a sore Achilles.
Prince Fielder closed out May by hitting .426 with three homers and 17 RBIs over his last 17 games.
Both teams have been awful with the bases loaded. New York's .151 average in those situations is ahead of only Detroit's .114 mark among AL teams.
"It's pretty much everyone involved with the bases loaded, we just haven't done the job for whatever reason," Girardi said.