First Pitch: Yankees at Rays, Game 3

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
10:00
AM ET
Phelps stats to watch

This will be David Phelps' first start since May 9, when he held the Rays scoreless for 4 2/3 innings.

His most recent appearance was June 29 in relief against the White Sox, his first with the Yankees since June 2. The pitch to watch will be his curveball, on which he got six White Sox hitters out. Phelps threw 16 hooks and got 13 strikes.

The issue he had was getting hitters out with his fastball. Phelps gave up three hits, including a homer to A.J. Pierzynski with it, and netted only one out. White Sox hitters fouled away 10 of the 14 they swung at.

Price stats to watch

David Price has won three straight starts since getting pummeled by the Mets, pitching seven innings in each to a 2.57 ERA and .211 opponents' batting average.

Price was sharp against the Tigers in his previous start, allowing two runs over seven innings and 78 pitches before leaving with back stiffness.

Five of Price’s seven strikeouts were called strikeouts, as he hit the inside corner against right-handed hitters repeatedly. He leads the American League with 44 strikeouts looking.

Price has also not allowed a hit to a lefty hitter in his past three starts, retiring 12 of the 13 he faced.

Tropicana Field is where Price thrives. Take out the seven runs he allowed there against the Mets on June 13, and he’s allowed seven runs over 44 2/3 innings in his six starts.

The comfort level for Price is in his ability to allow fly balls that don’t leave the ballpark. Just two of his 36 flies allowed at home have been homers, compared to seven of the 48 he’s yielded on the road.

Daytime doings

The Yankees have won three straight day games (all at home) and are 15-8 in afternoon play this season. They’ve hit 44 home runs in those 23 games, taking advantage of favorable conditions at Yankee Stadium on a couple of occasions. Robinson Cano has posted the best numbers, with a .333 batting average and seven home runs.

Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson have each hit five home runs during day play, but their batting averages are not good (.222 and .218 respectively).

Up now: Blog items from Tuesday night's postgame clubhouse, including Russell Martin on his horrendous night, Cano on his ability to count outs and third-base coach Rob Thomson on his decision to send Cano home in the sixth inning, a pivotal event in the Yankees' 7-4 loss.

On deck: Quick turnaround, clubhouse opening at 11:40 a.m. for Wednesday's 3:10 p.m. Fourth of July game. Rookie Phelps (1-3, 3.16) shoulders the burden of staving off a sweep by the Rays -- and ending the Yankees' nine-game losing streak at The Trop -- facing Rays ace Price (11-4, 2.92).

Question of the day: Many of you made it quite clear Tuesday night how down you are on Martin. So who would you replace him with, and by what means would you go about obtaining that replacement? Let us know below, and as always, thanks for reading.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146