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Saturday, July 7, 2012
First Pitch: Yanks-Sox W2W4


Freddy Garcia Stats To Watch
Garcia takes the mound in the first game of the doubleheader, as he makes his second start since returning to the rotation last week. Garcia faced the Red Sox once during his awful April, allowing five runs in 1⅔ innings as the starter during the Yankees' wild 15-9 comeback win.

In that nightmare outing he faced 12 batters and allowed seven hits, including four doubles. No other Yankees starter in the Live Ball Era has faced 12 or fewer batters and given up that many doubles and hits in a game.

Garcia was sent to the bullpen in May and pitched to a 1.56 ERA over 10 relief appearances, using an effective changeup and slider (opponents were 4-for-34 combined in at-bats ending in those pitches) to neutralize batters. He also dominated lefties, holding them to a .111/.158/.139 line in 36 at-bats.

He continued to pitch well in his first start back last week against Tampa Bay (2 runs, 5⅓ IP). He was effective locating his pitches down in the zone, as the Rays were hitless in seven at-bats ending in a pitch in the lower third of the zone or below. He also benefited from some strong defensive play, with the Yankees turning nine of his 10 groundballs and flyballs into outs.

Since Garcia joined the Yankees last year, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz have tagged him for a combined .429 average with six extra-base hits in 21 at-bats. Ortiz's six hits against Garcia over the last two seasons are more than any other player in that span.

Phil Hughes Stats To Watch
Hughes gets the start in the nightcap of the doubleheader, as he looks to improve upon his dreadful stats against the Red Sox. He owns a 2-5 record and a 6.65 ERA in 16 career appearances against Boston, including a 1-4, 7.41 ERA mark in eight starts.

That 6.65 ERA is his second-worst against any AL team, and his 2-5 record is his worst against any team he's faced more than twice. It doesn’t get any better at Fenway Park, where he has a 9.00 ERA (his worst at any ballpark) in eight outings, including a 10.80 ERA in four starts.

In his two starts last year at Fenway Park, the Red Sox crushed his fastball, which averaged just 91.6 MPH. He allowed 10 hits in 22 at-bats ending in a heater (.455), and half of those at-bats resulted in a well-hit ball into play according to Inside Edge video review.

This year his fastball is obviously much sharper, averaging 92.4 MPH, and opponents are hitting just .245 against the pitch. Only one out of every seven at-bats ending in a fastball has resulted in hard contact.

Ortiz has dominated Hughes in their head-to-head matchups, with eight hits in 17 at-bats including two homers. Ortiz's 1.524 OPS is the highest Hughes has allowed to any player he's faced at least 15 times.

UP NOW: Reggie Jackson apologized to A-Rod and the Yankees.

ON DECK: Andrew Marchand will be at Fenway covering all the festivities.

QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Will you watch every inning of today's action?