First Pitch: Can Phelps best Chen?

September, 1, 2012
9/01/12
7:30
AM ET
Wei-Yin Chen Stats To Watch
Chen has a 3.50 ERA in his last nine starts, but for the most part, he’s been very good (he’s had two starts in which he allowed five runs or more in that span).

Chen’s lefty-righty splits are almost identical. Lefty hitters have a .243/.302/.412 slashline (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) against him while righties are .245/.302/.412.

Righties have been hitting Chen better of late, with a .339 batting average, and four home runs in his last four starts. Lefties were hitless in nine at-bats in Chen’s most recent appearance against the White Sox.

Chen’s secondary stuff consists of a slider against lefties and a changeup against righties. The slider netted Chen seven outs without a baserunner in his last start.

The changeup was the tough pitch for Yankees hitters, who were 1-for-9 against it, and missed on half of their 20 swings in his two outings against them.

David Phelps Stats To Watch
Phelps will be making his first start against the Orioles. He’s pitched in relief against them three times, allowing no runs and four hits with six strikeouts and one walk in five innings.

The most encouraging thing for Phelps at the moment: He’s finishing hitters off. In his last two starts, opponents are 2-for-21 with 14 strikeouts in two-strike counts. Phelps has alternated between the fastball and curveball as his strikeout pitch in those two games, with seven strikeouts on each type.

Phelps biggest issue: home runs—he’s allowed four in his last three start (all at Yankee Stadium), including one to a lefty in each game. Lefties have nine extra-base hits in 71 at-bats against Phelps at Yankee Stadium, so he’ll have to be extra careful against the likes of Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters.

Daytime dominance
Despite hitting only .234 in day games, the Orioles are 24-12 in afternoon affairs, and their .667 winning percentage trails only the Reds (.702) for best in the majors. They do have two bats they can count on- Adam Jones, who is hitting .311 with eight homers and 22 RBI in day games, and Chris Davis, who is at .284, with six homers and 17 RBI.

The Yankees are 25-16 in day games, a good mark but a drop from last season, when they went an astounding 44-12. Their best hitter in day games is Robinson Cano, who is hitting .327 with 10 home runs and 28 RBI in 41 games.

Stat of the Day
The Yankees are 85-57 in September/October in the last five regular seasons, the second-best record in the majors behind the Phillies (91-56). The Orioles record is the reverse of the Yankees, 57-85, second-worst in the majors in that span to the Pirates (51-90).

ON DECK: First pitch is at 1 p.m. with the previously-mentioned Phelps (3-4, 2.96 ERA) facing Chen (12-7, 3.78).

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you have more faith in Phelps than you do in Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes?

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.285 13 62 63
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 62
RB. Gardner 78
OPSB. Gardner .774
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAH. Kuroda 3.88
SOM. Tanaka 135