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Saturday, May 12, 2012
W2W4: Hector Noesi vs Robinson Cano


Mariners starter Hector Noesi may not be the best suited pitcher for Yankee Stadium.

In his first start in the Bronx since his trade to the Mariners last winter, Noesi could be in for a long day. Or perhaps the better word is a longball day.

Noesi has been an extreme fly ball pitcher against left-handers this season.

Of the 52 balls he’s allowed to be hit by lefties 32 have been classified as fly balls and another six have been marked as line drives. Lefties are slugging .578 against Noesi this season.

Some of that is the product of one start against the White Sox in which he allowed hits to all four lefties he faced, including a homer to Adam Dunn.

Noesi’s 62 percent fly ball rate versus lefties is the highest in the majors. His 27 percent ground-ball rate is only surpassed by Royals starter Bruce Chen.

The one thing that could save Noesi would be that a lot of the fly balls that lefties hit against him tend to be to the biggest parts of the ballpark (centerfield and left center). His fastball averages 92-miles-per-hour and breaks away from a left-handed hitter, so it doesn’t get pulled as often as some might.

But the right field porch could prove tempting for the Yankees bats today, particularly Robinson Cano, who is 12-for-20 over his last five games and 7-for-8 in his last two. He’s not quite having a Josh Hamilton kind of week, but he’s in an impressive groove

Cano is trying to become the first Yankees player with three straight games of at least three hits since he did it in 2010.

What’s gone right for Cano is that he’s hitting those belt-high pitches that he was either missing or fouling off in his first 27 games of the season.

Cano has seven hits and has made only two outs against belt-high pitches in his last five games. He had 10 hits and 39 outs against those pitches prior to this hot streak.

That’s exactly the location with which Noesi has trouble. He’s gotten 16 outs, and given up 10 hits (three homers) on belt-high pitches in 2012.