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Friday, June 21, 2013
First Pitch: Will the bats wake up tonight?

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- The Yankees haven’t been able to score many runs this season, but they’ve always had success against Roberto Hernandez -- formerly known as Fausto Carmona.

Hernandez (4-7, 5.02 ERA), who will start for the Rays on Friday night, is 1-6 in his career against the Yankees (12 appearances, nine starts) with a 7.50 ERA.

The Yankees beat Hernandez 9-4 in Tampa Bay on May 24; the right-hander gave up five runs on six hits in a season-low four innings. In his last four starts against the Yankees, Hernandez has surrendered 26 earned runs on 39 hits in 20 2/3 innings.

On Thursday night, the Yankees started the following batting averages: .280, .260, .278, .221, .224, .270, .242, .263, .098. Not exactly Murderers' Row.

On the season, they’re hitting just .238 as a team and averaging 3.9 runs per game.

But the way they’ve been pitching (3.81 team ERA), the Yankees -- without the likes of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and now Mark Teixeira (again) and Kevin Youkilis (again) -- have been able to stay in the race. On Friday night, they’ll hope their mostly dormant bats come to life against a pitcher they’ve historically owned.

UP NOW: Kieran Darcy writes about the Yankees’ offensive struggles in Thursday night’s 8-3 loss. I wrote about Andy Pettitte, who was ineffective once again.

ON DECK: David Phelps (4-4, 4.08) vs. Hernandez, first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Ian Begley makes his 2013 debut in the Bronx for ESPNNewYork.com alongside Andrew Marchand.