W2W4: Orioles at Yankees (July 30)

July, 30, 2012
7/30/12
11:45
AM ET
Freddy Garcia Stats to Watch
Garcia has pitched well in his five starts since returning to the rotation in July, posting a 3.90 ERA and a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. One surprising aspect of Garcia's recent success has been his newfound ability to get whiffs and pile up strikeouts.

In his last five starts, opponents have missed on nearly 30 percent of their swings, and struck out in more than 20 percent of their plate appearances. Last year, he had a swing-and-miss rate of just 21 percent and a strikeout rate of only 15 percent.

Since returning to the rotation this month, he has more than doubled his usage of his slider in two-strike counts compared to last year, and the pitch has been a legitimate weapon for him.

Opponents are hitting just .167 in at-bats ending in a two-strike slider in July, compared to .255 last year.

Garcia has pitched poorly in his last two starts against Baltimore, allowing 11 runs in 7⅓ innings, which included a start on April 10 this year and September 5 last year. He allowed nearly as many homers (3) as strikeouts (4) and was tagged for a 1.183 OPS during those games.

He (in)famously threw five wild pitches in that early-April start this year, matching the AL record for a single game set by Charlie Wheatley in 1912 and Jack Morris in 1987.

Key Matchups for Garcia
Garcia has had success against Jim Thome, holding him to a .217 average (5-for-23) and just one homer. That is tied for Thome's third-most plate appearances versus an active right-hander for which he has hit one or fewer homers against.

Adam Jones has pounded Garcia in a limited sample size, getting five hits in 12 at-bats (.417). Four of the nine balls put in play by Jones were line drives, resulting in four hits including two doubles.

Bird Watching
The last time the Yankees lost a season series to the Orioles was in 1997, when the O's won the AL East with 98 wins. Since then, the Yankees have won 13 season series and tied once (2007), and this year own a 5-3 advantage.

The Yankees' .668 winning percentage against the O's in the last 15 seasons is their second-best against any AL team during that span, behind only the Royals (.713).

Since the Orioles moved to Baltimore in 1954, no Yankee has more hits against the franchise than Derek Jeter (323). Robinson Cano has also feasted on the O's during his career, hitting .340 against them over 125 games, his highest batting average against any AL team.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .288
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 64
RB. Gardner 81
OPSB. Gardner .787
ERAH. Kuroda 3.88
SOM. Tanaka 135