Monday, June 11, 2012
W2W4 Yankees-Braves (June 11)
IVAN NOVA STATS TO WATCH Ivan Nova is coming off one of the best starts of his career, when he tossed eight innings of one-run ball against the Rays last week. He kept the Rays’ lefties in check during that game, holding them hitless in 13 at-bats. In his first 10 starts, lefties hit .282 and slugged .581 against him.
Nova has never faced any of the current players on the Braves roster but he’ll be challenged by one of the best left-handed hitters in the majors, Michael Bourn. Bourn has a .320 batting average (7th-best among lefties) and is hitting .351 against right-handed pitchers (6th-best in MLB).
Nova relied heavily on his fastball against the Rays (68 of 91 pitches) and it averaged 93.9 mph, his highest in a start since August 2010. Over his last three starts, opponents are hitting .222 in at-bats ending in his heater; in his first eight starts, his fastball was tagged for a .449 average.
This will be Nova’s third road Interleague start. He won his previous two starts allowing one run in each outing over 13 combined innings (0.66 ERA). No Yankee pitcher has won three straight road interleague starts, allowing one run or fewer in each start.
RUSSELL HAS MUSCLE Russell Martin, who was the hero in yesterday’s game, has been one of the team’s hottest hitters over the past two weeks. Since May 25, Martin is batting .342 and slugging .763 with four homers over his last 12 games. He was hitting just .173 with four homers in his first 37 games this season.
Martin is mashing the ball with a lot more authority during his recent hot streak. His line drive percentage has nearly doubled from 15 percent in his first 37 games to 28 percent since May 25.
The Canadian backstop is also crushing outside pitches, with all four of his homers since May 25 coming on pitches located on the outer third of the plate or further away.
He is slugging 1.000 in 18 at-bats ending in those pitches over his last 12 games, a huge improvement over his .425 slugging percentage in 40 at-bats on outside pitches in his first 37 games.
A LOADED ISSUE The Yankees didn’t have any bases loaded at-bats against the Mets on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean their issues in that situation are solved. They are just 10-for-63 (.156) with the bases full this season, ranking 29th in MLB.
Robinson Cano has been the team’s worst hitter with ducks on the pond, with just one hit in 12 at-bats. His 11 outs made with the bases loaded lead the majors.
HAVE WE SEEN HIM BEFORE? Randall Delgado takes the mound for the Braves tonight, making his first career appearance against the Yankees. Oh no, the dreaded pitcher-the-Yankees-have-never-faced-before! No need to worry, Yankee fans, its not as bad as you may think.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees are 6-4 this season and 23-9 over the last two seasons combined against opposing starters who are facing the Yankees for the first time in their career. Of course, the Yankees went 5-9 against such pitchers in 2009, when they won the World Series.