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W2W4: Yankees at Athletics (July 19)

7/19/2012

Garcia Stats to Watch

Freddy Garcia has won four straight decisions, including two in three starts since returning to the Yankees' starting rotation. He doesn’t have the best history in Oakland, with a 4.14 ERA and 11 home runs in 58 2/3 innings pitched, but did earn a win there last season.

Garcia was a little off his game in his most recent start against the Angels in that he walked five in five innings (though among them were Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols. He had trouble particularly with his slider, walking four hitters with it.

He has been able to keep the ball in the ballpark, allowing two home runs in his last 25 innings pitched.

Griffin Stats To Watch

A.J. Griffin has opened his major league career with three no-decisions and a win in his first four starts. He’s worked six innings in each of the four, yielding two runs twice, three runs once and no runs once (against the vaunted Rangers offense).

Griffin’s numbers have been helped by a defense that has gotten outs on 24 of the 28 ground balls he’s allowed, and five of 12 line drives hit against him. His Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) numbers (in other words, his 16 strikeouts, six walks, and four home runs allowed) are indicative more of a pitcher with an ERA around 4.65.

Streaks on the Line

The Yankees have all sorts of streaks going into this game, including their stretch of 42 straight games scoring at least three runs (second-longest in the Live Ball Era) and Robinson Cano’s 21-game hitting streak (the longest in the majors this season is 22, by Michael Brantley of the Indians).

My W2W4-writing colleague, Katie Sharp reminds us that the Yankees have another amazing streak entering the day. They’ve won nine straight games in Oakland, their longest road win streak against the Athletics since a 10-gamer when that team played in Kansas City, spanning 1955 and 1956.

Tex Message

Remember that the last time the Yankees visited the Athletics, Mark Teixeira feasted on Oakland pitching. He was 8-for-14 with three home runs in the series.

Straight A’s

The most recent time the Yankees visited Oakland, they swept the Athletics three straight, leaving in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. But since that skid ended, the Athletics are 25-14 and in the hunt for the AL wild card.

Since June 2, the Athletics have averaged 4.7 runs per game and hit 53 home runs in 39 games. They averaged just 3.2 runs per game and hit 42 home runs in their first 52 games of the season.

The hitter with the best numbers in that span is Cuban-born rookie outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has returned from injury and solved some of the plate discipline issues that plagued him earlier this season. He’s hitting .339 with six home runs, 21 RBIs and a .981 OPS in his past 30 games.

The key to that was cutting his miss rate from 37 percent of his swings prior to the injury to 24 percent since returning.