New York Yankees: Paul Konerko
June, 28, 2012
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
Ivan Nova Stats To Watch
Nova seems to have shaken his early-season issues trying to get right-handed hitters out. They are 5-for-their-last-31 against him, including a 1-for-9 with four strikeouts by the Mets in his last start. There has been a little bit of good fortune involved with that, as four of the last five line drives hit by righties have been turned into outs.
The thing to watch for Nova tonight will be how well he buries hitters when he gets them in a two-strike hole. In his last four starts, opponents are 3-for-41 with four walks against him in two-strike counts, with his outs equally divided between fastballs and breaking balls.
The White Sox have a couple of hitters who will test Nova’s two-strike skill, most notably Paul Konerko, whose .350 on-base percentage with two strikes ranks fifth-best among batting-title qualifiers in the majors. The White Sox enter with the fifth-most strikeouts in the American League and the fourth-fewest walks.
The Yankees have won Nova’s last six starts.
After a day off yesterday, Derek Jeter should be back in the Yankees lineup, poised to catch Cal Ripken Jr. for 13th on baseball’s all-time hit list.
Jeter has hit .363 against the White Sox over the last three seasons, with 15 hits in 34 at-bats against them in games at Yankee Stadium.
Not So Grand
Curtis Granderson is 1-for-16 in his last five games and 4-for-his-last 34 dating back to June 18.
Our pitch-performance data shows Granderson has been unusually bad against pitches he normally crushes. He’s in a 3-for-24 stretch against pitches in the strike zone and is due for a long ball.
The last 10 fly balls he’s hit against pitches in the strike zone have been turned into outs.
Mark Teixeira will be happy to hear this: The White Sox are a team that basically avoids using defensive shifts. In fact, as of last check by Baseball Info Solutions, the White Sox had not been shown on camera using a single defensive shift all season.
Teixeira could use a little mental boost. He’s 1-for-15 in his last five games and 1-for-his-last-12 against right-handed pitching.
The Indians challenged him inside more often than most teams do and Teixeira couldn’t do anything with those pitches, making four outs against them as a left-handed hitter, though he did also draw a walk and get hit by a pitch.
Speaking of Shifts
The Yankees may want to put a shift on the newest White Sox acquisition, third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Of the 60 ground balls hit by Youkilis this season, only four have been hit to the right side of the infield.
Youkilis has historically been a Yankees killer. He has a .443 career on-base percentage against them in the regular season is his best against any AL team and the best of any active player against the Yankees.
Youkilis, who had been slumping for much of the season, enters on a hot streak. He’s 11-for-26 in his last seven games and went 5-for-11 in his first series with the White Sox.
He’s 2-for-5 in his career against Nova.