CC Sabathia opted to more or less agree with how Justin Verlander took issue with how the New York Yankees are being hailed as front-runners in 2018, not the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros. “He is not lying,” Sabathia said of Verlander’s take, via the New York Post. Verlander started things off by reacting to comments made by MLB Network talking head Chris Russo in which it was opined that the Yankees, not the Astros, are the favorites to represent the AL in the World Series. Verlander doubled-down on his rhetoric on Wednesday while speaking with reporters. “The American League goes through us,” Verlander said, via ESPN. “Those teams are going to have to beat us and I like being in that position. I like having a target on our back. I think it’s a good place to be. I think everyone in this locker room needs to understand it’s a new season and just because we won last year, we’re not afforded anything this season.” Sabathia was asked if Verlander’s tough talk about the Astros, who eliminated the Yankees in the ALCS last season, could help fuel the Bronx Bombers.