Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has not been himself in recent games.
The six-time All-Star -- whose 9-10 record and 4.78 ERA would be career-worst marks -- has allowed 27 runs over 19 2/3 innings in his past four starts, all of which resulted in losses. It has arguably been the worst stretch of his career.
Sabathia's best chance to get back to ace form could come on Wednesday night in Chicago. The left-hander, formerly of the Indians, has had substantial success pitching against the White Sox in his career, posting an 18-4 record and a 3.63 ERA over 31 starts against them. He's been even better in his 16 starts at U.S. Cellular Field, going 10-1 with a 3.25 ERA.
"I mean, it's crunch time," Sabathia said. "I think every start is important, and it's up to me to go out and pitch better."
One of the things contributing to Sabathia's recent swoon has been a change in his arm angle. The lefty's arm slot has dropped over his last few starts, causing his pitches to cut more than they're supposed to.
Sabathia said he's worked on raising his arm in recent bullpen sessions and said he has seen a decrease in the amount his pitches have cut.
"It's definitely a muscle memory [thing]," Sabathia said. "It's up to me to keep going out and making sure that I keep getting on top and not cutting balls, and making pitches. It's definitely mental, but I'll look to do better."
Sabathia will face off against White Sox starter Hector Santiago, who has encountered a different sort of bad luck over the past month. Though the lefty has given up three earned runs or fewer in each of his last six starts -- he has a 2.75 ERA in that span -- Chicago has lost all of those games, averaging fewer than two runs in each.
For the season, Santiago is 3-7 despite having a 3.28 ERA and 111 strikeouts. He allowed two runs over seven innings in his last start, against the Tigers on Friday, which White Sox manager Robin Ventura called one of Santiago's better efforts of the season.
Yankees: Trying trip coming to an end
Wednesday night's game marks the end of an eight-game road trip, one that has not been kind to the Yankees.
New York has averaged fewer than three runs per game so far on the trip, and Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the White Sox dropped the club to 2-5 with one game remaining before it returns to the Bronx.
The Yankees have lost three of their past four series, and on Monday, they lost shortstop and captain Derek Jeter -- out with a right calf strain -- to the disabled list for a third time this season.
"We're digging ourselves a hole, no doubt about it," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "It's not something that we want. We have to win games -- simple as that. We have to play better baseball and win with what we have. This has been a terrible road trip."
White Sox: Dunn stays hot at the plate
Through the first 61 games of the season, Adam Dunn batted an unsightly .156. Through the last 50, the designated hitter has been a bright spot for the White Sox.
Dunn is hitting .305 over his past 50 games, having raised his batting average nearly 70 points to .225. During that span, the veteran slugger has mashed 13 home runs and recorded 37 RBIs.
For the season, Dunn is batting .225 with a team-high 26 home runs and 68 RBIs.
Dunn has also played a significant role in Chicago's wins over the Yankees on Monday and Tuesday, reaching base four times in eight plate appearances while driving in one run and scoring another.
• On Tuesday, in his second game of the season, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk, and he was hit by a pitch.
• The White Sox have won five consecutive games against the Yankees dating to last season, having outscored New York, 29-12, in those games.
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.