Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Yankees will try to hit Jeff Niemann early
(The New York Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday at 7 ET on ESPN)
Curtis Granderson has reached base in 28 straight games, which is the longest active streak in baseball.
However, if the Tampa Bay Rays’ Jeff Niemann pitches against the Yankees -- and Granderson -- like he has in the past, then Granderson’s streak could come to an end Wednesday night in Yankee Stadium.
In five starts against the Yankees, Niemann is 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA. He hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any of those five starts.
Current members of the Yankees are a combined 21-94 (.223) against Niemann. Granderson is 1-14 (.071) against Niemann, matching his lowest batting average against an American League pitcher (minimum 15 plate appearances.)
This season, Niemann has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any of his five starts; however, he has also failed to complete six innings in any start.
Niemann is having a hard time getting through the lineup the third time around. He’s averaged less than 23 batters faced per start (the league average for a starting pitcher is 25.3), and hasn’t faced more than 25 in a start.
Conversely, the Yankees have jumped on opponents early. They have scored 24 first-inning runs, matching the most they have scored in an inning this season. (They have also scored 24 runs in the seventh inning.)
Opponents are hitting .400 this season against Niemann the third time through the order, compared to .214 the first time and .132 the second time through the order.
Niemann has won his last two starts at Yankee Stadium, but this season on the road he’s winless (0-3). In those three games the Rays have provided a total of four runs of support.
One Yankee who has hit Niemann well is Derek Jeter, who is 6-13 with two doubles.
Only Josh Hamilton (.406) and Matt Kemp (.404) have a higher average this season than Jeter’s .392. He’s also hitting .500 in the first inning (14-28, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 K), that’s the highest average among hitters with at least 25 first-inning plate appearances.
Jeter is hitting to the opposite field with authority, and leads the league in that category as well with 19 hits the other way.