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Saturday, July 23, 2011
W2W4: Athletics at Yankees (Saturday)


Rich Harden Stat To Watch
In his first three starts this season, Harden has thrown a first-pitch strike only 49 percent of the time, and only 41 percent to left-handed hitters, well below the major league average of around 58 percent. That would seem to bode well for the likes of Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, among others.

Harden is notorious for throwing a lot of pitches, which keeps him from going deep into games. He is averaging nearly 16 pitches per inning so far in 2011.

A.J. Burnett Stat To Watch
In his four starts against the Athletics, Burnett has held their hitters to a .204 batting average and a .240 batting average on balls put into play (i.e., plays in which the defense was involved).

The changeup and curveball have been effective pitches for Burnett in those four starts. He has gotten 35 outs with those pitches, while yielding only seven baserunners.

Derek Jeter Watch
Jeter is 6-for-16 with four walks in his career against Harden, though those stats are a bit antiquated. Jeter hasn't faced Harden since 2007, and he struck out in his previous two plate appearances.

Russell Martin is Due ... Maybe?
Remember our stat to watch on Teixeira from a few days ago -- how he had been hitless over a 19 at-bat stretch in which he'd hit a fly ball?

Yankees catcher Russell Martin is in a similar funk. He's 3-for-his-last-37 when hitting a fly ball. The trouble sign is that Martin is hitting the ball with much less authority.

Our hit tracking system categorizes batter contact into three categories -- hard, medium, and soft. Let's look at Martin's issue:

Through May 24: 43 fly balls, 26 soft (60 percent)
Since May 25: 37 fly balls, 29 soft (78 percent)

Domin'A'tion Stats of the Day
Three things to know about the Yankees' domination of the Athletics.

1. The Yankees have won 24 of 27 meetings against the Athletics, including the past 11 in a row. The offensive numbers, as you can see in the chart above, are a little lopsided.

2. Teixeira has 28 RBIs in 23 games against the Athletics since joining the Yankees in 2009. That's nothing new for him against this team.

In 2005 he had 26 RBIs in 19 games against the Athletics as a member of the Texs Rangers. At the time, that was the most RBIs for a player against the Athletics in a single season since Yankees rightfielder Roger Maris had 27 in 21 games against them in 1960.

3. The last time the Athletics defeated the Yankees was a 4-2 win on April 22, 2010. The Athletics won despite managing only four hits, but one was a three-run homer by Kurt Suzuki. The winning pitcher was Dallas Braden, who is injured and out for the season.