Hiroki Kuroda Stats To Watch For
Kuroda's roller-coaster ride through the American League continues on Monday night as he faces the Royals for the second time this season. He failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his previous start against them on May 5, allowing three runs on six hits.
Kuroda really struggled pitching from the stretch in that game, as the Royals went 4-for-11 and walked three times with runners on base. Kuroda has allowed an OPS of .823 with men on base this season, nearly 200 points higher than the .649 mark he gave up in those situations in 2011.
Kuroda has had trouble with the long ball recently, having allowed five home runs over his last two starts. It's just the second time in his career he's given up multiple homers in consecutive starts; he's never done that three starts in a row.
Over the last two seasons, 12 of the 33 home runs allowed by Kuroda have come in at-bats ending in his slider (four this year, 12 last year). In 2009 and 2010 combined, only three of the 27 homers he gave up came against his slider.
Felipe Paulino Stats To Watch For
This will be the second time Paulino has faced the Yankees this season, after he pitched six scoreless innings on May 5 in the Royals' 5-1 win. Paulino silenced the Yankees' bats that day, not allowing a hard-hit ball in play to any of the 23 Yankees he faced.
Paulino also got help from his defense, as each of the eight groundballs he generated were converted into outs. However, since then he's given up six hits on 13 grounders over his last two starts.
Curtis Granderson has seen Paulino the most of any Yankee, with nine career plate appearances versus the Dominican righty. He's really struggled in those matchups, though, netting just one hit with four strikeouts.
A-Rod's Power Outage Watch
Alex Rodriguez is mired in a 44 at-bat homerless drought, with his last home run coming on May 6 against the Royals. Just two of his 12 hits since then have been for extra bases, and he has driven in just one run over those 12 games.
He has hit the ball hard recently, though, with 16 balls in play classified as "well-hit" over those 44 at-bats (roughly one every three at-bats). In his first 104 at-bats of the season, he had 19 hard-hit balls, for a rate of one every five at-bats.
He had four hard-hit balls in four at-bats on Sunday afternoon, matching his most in any game since 2009. He also had that many on Aug. 14, 2010, when he hit the 602nd, 603rd and 604th homers of his career in a game against Kansas City.