CC Sabathia Stats To Watch
Given that Sabathia was out with an elbow injury, fastball velocity would seem to be one thing of which to be mindful. Sabathia last pitched in Progressive Field on July 5, 2011, and averaged nearly 96 mph with his fastball.
In fact, every one of the 54 he threw that day clocked at 93 or faster.
A day like that would be noteworthy. Sabathia has only had six of 20 starts in which his fastball averaged 92.5 mph or faster.
The other pitch of note will be his slider. Sabathia is two starts from removed from throwing one of the best sliders of his career -- one that netted 15 outs and eight strikeouts in a win over the Mariners.
Sabathia threw 39 percent sliders in that start, but then threw 26 percent in his most recent start against the Tigers.
Corey Kluber Stats To Watch
Kluber throws a fastball that averages 93 mph, but it's been very hittable in his four appearances, yielding more baserunners (22) than outs (21).
In fact, hitters have only missed twice in 68 swings against his heater this season.
This is the sort of pitcher that fits right into what the Yankees do best. Their .311/.376/.552 slashline against right-handed fastballs ranging from 92 to 94 mph is well above the major-league average of .272/.351/.435.
Every Yankees regular, except Russell Martin, has a .290 batting average or better when an at-bat ends with such a pitch.
Kluber does throw three other pitches, and actually only throws the fastball about half the time. His out pitches are breaking balls that he throws away from righties and jams in on lefties.
Expect the Yankees to load their lineup with lefties, as hitters from that side are 18-for-46 (.391 batting average) against Kluber this season. He did hold them to just two hits in 11 at-bats (along with two walks) in his last start, a loss to the Athletics.
If you're wondering why he's in the Indians rotation, here's a stat on the state of the Indians rotation that offers an answer, courtesy of ESPN Sweet Spot blog affiliate "It's pronounced Lajaway" (and ex-ESPN research whiz Ryan McCrystal): Every pitcher who has started a game for the Indians this season has a non-positive Wins Above Replacement value.
Not one would be valued above a replacement-level (read: Triple-A) player at this point in the season.
The Comforts of Progressive Field
If you set the minimum at 100 plate appearances, the Yankees have the players with the second-, third-, fourth- and sixth-highest batting average at Progressive Field. Derek Jeter is hitting .363, with Ichiro Suzuki (.336), Raul Ibanez (.333), and Mark Teixeira (.324) right behind them. They're all chasing Mark Kotsay's .384.
Granderson happy to see a righty
Curtis Granderson saw a left-handed pitcher in 10 of the 12 plate appearances he had in the White Sox series and in 29 of the last 50 times he has been to the plate overall.
We mentioned Kluber's velocity earlier. It's a good fit for Granderson to break from a 9-for-50 slump against right-handed pitching. Granderson and Andrew McCutchen lead the majors in homers versus 93-plus mph fastballs from righties with eight.