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Tuesday, September 6, 2011
W2W4: Orioles at Yankees (Tuesday)




Phil Hughes Stats2Watch4
Hughes looked like he had turned a corner, with a streak of four starts in a row (July 27 to August 19) in which he allowed two runs or fewer, but he’s gotten bopped for six runs in each of his last two starts, against the Athletics and Red Sox.

Left-handed hitters crushed Hughes in those two games, with 12 hits, including six for extra bases, in 28 at-bats. They were 1-for-26 combined in his starts against the Rays and Twins.

The issues differed by start. Against Oakland, Hughes gave up four two-strike hits to lefties, after not allowing any in his three previous starts.

Against Boston, Hughes yielded a season-high 10 fly balls, including doubles to Jason Varitek and Carl Crawford, and a home run by David Ortiz, all on high fastballs, a pitch that Hughes threw at a much higher rate in this game (30 of 51 fastballs were upper-third or above) than he typically would to a left-handed hitter.

Nick Markakis has the best numbers among the Orioles against Hughes- 9-for-26, including 2-for-3 with a home run and a double when the two met on April 14.

Tommy Hunter Stats2Watch4
Hunter allowed three home runs to the Yankees on August 26, but beat them that day. This will be his Yankee Stadium regular-season debut. He allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched there in a start in Game 4 of the ALCS, getting a no-decision in a Rangers win.

There are a bunch of numbers that would indicate Hunter could have a rough time in this ballpark. He sports a 5.43 career road ERA and he’s one of six pitchers averaging less than four strikeouts-per-nine-innings this season.

It’s like Night and Day
The Yankees are a mere 48-44 in night games this season, 38-9 in day time. One more night time defeat would match their total from 2010, when they went 59-45.

One of the biggest disparities belongs to leftfielder Brett Gardner, who has been a completely different player in daylight hours this season.

Gardner is hitting .239 with a .310 on-base percentage at night. He’s .320 with a .432 on-base percentage in day games. His strikeout/walk numbers are also significantly different- 24 strikeouts and 26 walks during day games; 59 strikeouts, 28 walks at night.

Granderson due?
Curtis Granderson is 0-for-his-last 14 and 3-for-his-last-32 with 14 strikeouts against right-handed pitching since August 20, though he has drawn 11 walks in that stretch.

Granderson’s hit a few more foul balls than usual recently against fastballs and cutters from righties, with 34 in his last 60 swings, about half-a-dozen above the number he’d be projected to hit had he maintained his seasonal foul ball rate.

Granderson is due to hit a line drive. He hasn’t hit one against a right-handed pitcher since August 19. Prior to that, he was averaging one for every four balls he put into play vs righties.

Ouch
The Yankees hit two batters in Monday’s game, a rarity. In their previous 34 games, they’d only hit two batters. Dating back to July 30, the Yankees have been hit by 22 pitches. Their opponents have been plunked four times.