The New York Yankees insist that CC Sabathia's shouting match outside a Toronto night club this past weekend had nothing to do with pushing his scheduled start back a day.
Regardless of the circumstances behind the change, it's been a frustrating season for the club's former ace, who pitched well in his previous two outings but is still seeking his first win since July 8 against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
The Yankees (65-52) were in Toronto for a crucial three-game series over the weekend, and just hours after winning Friday's opener, Sabathia was captured on video - released Monday by TMZ - hollering among a crowd of people.
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Sabathia (4-9, 5.23 ERA) said some hecklers got "a little bit" personal about his rugged season but that the taunting wasn't racial.
"I just flipped out, you know. I could have handled it better," the left-hander told reporters before Monday night's 8-7, 10-inning win against the Twins gave New York a one-game lead over idle Toronto atop the AL East.
"Made a bad decision. Sometimes these things happen," added Sabathia, whose replacement Monday, rookie Bryan Mitchell, was hit in the head by a line drive in the second inning and suffered a fractured nose.
It's not difficult to see why Sabathia could be a bit touchy about the season he's having. Besides going 3-4 in eight starts last season, which was cut short by knee surgery, this year marks the first time he's posted a losing record while healthy.
A four-start losing streak at the outset now seems to have been the harbinger for a career-worst season in which he's allowed a .299 opponent batting average and 24 homers in 129 innings - four shy of his career high set in 2013 over 82 more innings.
Sabathia, however, has logged three quality starts over his last five, including the previous two, but received one run of support each time. He has a 2.25 ERA in his last two starts and tied a season best with 110 pitches in Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Cleveland.
Sabathia has dominated the Twins (59-59), going 17-9 with a 3.14 ERA in 35 career starts, but his lone outing against them this year was far from stellar. He gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings before the Yankees rallied for an 8-5 win July 25.
Joe Mauer has batted just .171 with 16 strikeouts in 41 career at-bats against Sabathia, while Kurt Suzuki is 7 for 33 - though four of those hits have left the yard.
Mike Pelfrey (6-7, 3.70 ERA) will oppose Sabathia looking to win back-to-back starts for only the second time this season.
The right-hander picked up his first victory since June 7 with seven strong innings in Wednesday's 11-1 rout of Texas. He gave up the lone run and four hits with four strikeouts and has now received 18 runs of support over his last two outings.
"Two months ago (the Rangers) kind of kicked my butt pretty good and that was kind of extra motivation coming into today," Pelfrey told MLB's official website.
Pelfrey could certainly find some motivation in how hard several Yankees have hit him in his career. Brian McCann, who had five RBIs Monday, has batted .475 in 40 at-bats with two homers and eight doubles, while Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez are both 5 for 13.
Pelfrey is 2-3 with a 5.28 ERA in five career starts against New York, none since May 2011. His ERA in three starts at Yankee Stadium is 7.00.