Stats & Info: Freddy Garcia

Longoria neutralizes Yankees edges

September, 4, 2012
9/04/12
10:40
AM ET
The Rays have won eight of 13 games from the Yankees so far this season, but have only outscored them 54-51, with the same number of home runs (13 apiece).

Tonight, the teams will tangle again on Tuesday Night Baseball (7 pm ET, ESPN).

The Yankees are 22-27 vs the Rays since 2010, their worst record vs an AL team in that span. They have also lost 10 of their last 11 games at the Trop vs the Rays.

Let's take a closer look at the matchup.

Starwatch: Evan Longoria and Derek Jeter
Longoria is hitting .247 with a .341 slugging percentage since returning to the lineup on August 7. His biggest issue is that he’s unable to hit pitches on the outside part of the plate.

Before going on the DL, he missed outer-third (and further away) pitches at a 17 percent rate. Since returning, it’s 32 percent.

But Longoria represents the great equalizer between the two teams. He's hitting .413 with five home runs and 15 walks in his last 14 games against Yankees.

Jeter currently leads the majors in hits with 177. If he maintains his lead, he will be the second-oldest player to lead the majors in hits. The record was set by Pete Rose, who was 40 years old when he did so in 1981.

Jeter’s opposite field hitting has returned this year. He leads the majors with 66 opposite-field hits.

Key stats for Freddy Garcia
Garcia has been a better pitcher since returning to the rotation in July after some early struggles. He has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his 11 starts since then.

He is 3-0 with a 4.39 ERA and averaging nearly a strikeout per inning in his last five starts since the beginning of August.

Garcia has increased his strikeout rate significantly. He is averaging 7.8 strikeouts per 9 innings as a starter, which is just shy of his career-best mark of 7.9 set in 2004.

The pitch to watch from Garcia tonight is his slider, which has been more effective in two-strike counts this season.

The graphic on the right illustrates the difference.

Garcia is 9-2 career against the Rays, his second-best win percentage vs any AL team (he’s 16-3 vs the Angels). He is 3-0 with a 3.55 ERA in his last five starts vs the Rays.

Jose Molina is 10-for-26 (.385) in his career against Garcia.

Carlos Pena represents the flip side of that. He’s 5-for-42 against Garcia, the .119 batting average being the second-lowest allowed by Garcia to a hitter (Chone Figgins, .091)

Key stats for Alex Cobb
Cobb has been better at home this season (3.44 ERA) than on the road (5.30 ERA). He's pitched 52 1/3 innings at Tropicana Field without allowing a home run, the most innings pitched at home without allowing a homer all season.

Cobb’s ground-ball rate is 57.3 percent, second-highest among AL starters. However, he is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his five starts when his ground-ball rate was below 50 percent this season and his ERA is 5.28 when his ground-ball rate is 50 percent or higher.

Cobb throws a changeup as an out pitch. Opponents swing at it when it’s thrown out of the strike zone 51 percent of the time, the highest “chase rate” for an AL starting pitcher.

The effectiveness of the pitch is noticeable against left-handed hitters, as noted in the chart on the right.

Cobb has faced the Yankees twice, allowing five earned runs and eight hits in 13 innings. Current Yankees are 9-for-47 against him.

Feldman's curve may help end Rangers' skid

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
1:28
PM ET

Jim Cowsert-US PresswireJosh Hamilton is batting .302 with five home runs and 15 RBIs during August.
The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees will meet on Wednesday in the third game of their four-game series in the Bronx (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Yankees, winners of seven straight home games against the Rangers, are looking to match their franchise high for consecutive wins versus Texas at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees have won eight straight home games against the Rangers twice previously: once during a stretch spanning the 1961-62 seasons (when the Rangers were the Washington Senators) and most recently from 1994-96. Coincidently, the Yankees went on to win the World Series in both seasons in which those streaks ended (1962 and 1996).

Freddy Garcia will take the mound for the Yankees, hoping to continue his own run of success against the Rangers.

In his past eight starts against Texas, Garcia is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA, and collectively current Rangers are hitting .211 against him. Garcia has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts overall since July 1.

On the other side of the diamond, Rangers starter Scott Feldman has gone 5-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his past seven starts after going 0-6 with a 7.14 ERA in seven starts to begin the season. During Feldman’s recent run, it has been his curveball that has led the way. Opponents hit .087 (2-23) on at-bats ending in the curve in the past seven starts, .333 in his first seven starts of the year.

Offensively for Texas, Josh Hamilton has enjoyed an August in which he already has knocked home more RBIs (15) than he did in all of July (11). In 13 games this month, Hamilton is hitting .302 with three home runs after batting .202 with eight home runs in 47 games during June and July.

One reason behind Hamilton’s resurgence has been his dominance against the fastball. Since July 30, he is hitting .368 against fastballs after posting a .185 batting average against heaters from June 1-July 29.

On the other side of the spectrum, teammate Michael Young continues to struggle. He has not hit a home run since May 7, and the span of 84 homerless games is the longest such streak of his career. He enters the game with a .343 slugging percentage, a percentage that would also be a career worst.

Derek Jeter
Jeter
For the Yankees, they seem to be collectively hitting their offensive stride, especially in clutch situations. Yankees batters are hitting an MLB-best .319 with runners in scoring position since June 23, including a .376 clip during August. Through June 22, they were hitting a league-worst .217 in those situations.

Derek Jeter enters Wednesday with a league-high 156 hits this season. If he maintains his lead, the Elias Sports Bureau tells us that he would become the third-oldest player to ever lead his league in hits and the oldest to do so since Paul Molitor in 1996.

Yankees eye longest losing skid since 1991

July, 2, 2012
7/02/12
1:05
PM ET
The Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees on Monday having lost two straight, six of seven, and nine of their past 12 games. Since the 12-game stretch began on June 20, the Rays have scored 3.1 runs per game (26th in MLB) and hit .215 as a team (28th in MLB).

The Yankees, conversely, come to town winners of two in a row and seven of their past nine games but they haven’t had much success at Tropicana Field of late.

The Yankees have lost their past seven road meetings with the Rays, tied for their longest road losing streak against a single opponent in over 20 years. The Yankees haven’t lost eight straight such games since losing 15 in a row against the Rangers during a stretch spanning the 1989, 1990, and 1991 seasons.

THE DEFENSE RESTS
The Rays have struggled defensively in 2012, having already committed 67 errors this season -- only the Orioles have more (69). Tampa Bay committed 73 errors all of last season (fewest in MLB) while leading all of baseball with 85 Defensive Runs Saved.

According to Baseball Info Solutions, most of their struggles have come at third base with Evan Longoria out of the lineup. Rays third basemen have committed 36 defensive misplays and errors in 2012 after committing only 40 all of last season.

IS FREDDY READY?
Freddy Garcia will start for the Yankees in place of an injured Andy Pettitte tonight and he hopes to build on his recent success as a reliever. Garcia is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA his past 10 appearances, all out of the bullpen. He was 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA in his first four appearances of the year, all as a starter.

Garcia has pitched well as a starter against the Rays, however, going 3-0 with a 3.58 ERA in his past four starts against Tampa Bay with his team winning all four contests.

A LEFTY THAT OWNS RIGHTIES
The Rays have baseball’s fourth-youngest pitching staff and Matt Moore, the 23-year-old lefthander, gets the nod Monday. Every one of their games has been started by a pitcher 30 or younger, something only the Blue Jays, Tigers, and Orioles have done this season.

Moore enters the game with backwards platoon splits in 2012 as lefties are hitting .294 and slugging .485 against him while righties are hitting just .230 and slugging only .385.

Those odd splits have led to a 3-0 record and 3.55 ERA in five June starts, however, the longest winning streak of his career. In his only previous start against the Yankees, Moore earned the win while striking out a career-high 11 hitters in five shutout innings last September.

Fastballs key to Teixeira breakout

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
11:58
AM ET

John Munson/US Presswire
Mark Teixeira has continued his trend of starting off slowly at the plate since joining the Yankees. He's hitting only .222 heading into tonight's game.
The Minnesota Twins begin a four-game set in the Bronx tonight (ESPN, 7 ET) against the New York Yankees, a team they have struggled against lately. Since 2002, the Yankees are 51-18 against the Twins in the regular season, and in postseason play, New York has won nine straight and 12 of the 14 games the teams have played since 2002.

Pitching Matchup
Carl Pavano signed a four-year, $39.95 million contract with the Yankees before the 2005 season but his tenure there was marred by injury and ineffectiveness. As a Yankee, Pavano made only 26 starts and missed the entire 2006 season. However, since leaving the Bronx, he has made 100 starts, including being named the Twins Opening Day starter the last two seasons.

This is only Pavano’s second start in New York since leaving the Yankees after the 2008 season. On April 19, 2009 - then with Cleveland – Pavano went six innings, allowing four hits, one run, one walk and four strikeouts as he took a no-decision in New York’s 7-3 win.

For the Yankees, Freddy Garcia will take the mound for his second start of the season. In his first start, Garcia threw five wild pitches against the Baltimore Orioles, but came out with a no-decision as New York rallied for a 5-4 win. Garcia is 10-7 with a 4.04 in 22 career starts against the Twins, but is 1-2 with a 5.24 ERA in four starts since joining the Yankees.

Player to Watch
Mark Teixeira is off to another slow start this season, but that is nothing new for him since joining the Yankees. The bad news is that after rebounding well in 2009, his performance the rest of the season has gotten worse.

His trouble so far this season has been from the left side of the plate, particularly against fastballs. Pitchers work away from Teixeira with fastballs on both sides of the plate, but he only makes them pay while hitting right-handed. He’s 1-for-12 against righties and 3-for-8 against lefties.

Stat of the Game
Alex Rodriguez is tied with Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth all-time with 630 home runs. Let’s take a quick look at some similarities between the two players.

• A-Rod has hit 112 of his 630 HR in the first inning; Griffey has hit 111.

• 330 of A-Rod’s home runs have come with the bases empty, compared to 337 of Junior’s.

• A-Rod has hit the first pitch for a home run 108 times, while Griffey has connected on the first pitch 114 times.

John Fisher contributed to this post
AP Photo/LM OteroNeftali Feliz pitched seven shutout innings in his first major-league start.
Tuesday marked the first major league starts for former bullpen stalwarts Neftali Feliz and Daniel Bard. Both were successful in the bullpen, but only one handled the transition well in his debut.

Feliz was facing off with a familiar foe as the Texas Rangers hosted the Seattle Mariners. Entering the game, the Mariners had not recorded a hit in 48 at-bats against Feliz. Justin Smoak finally broke the hitless drought with two outs in the fourth inning.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 58 at-bats before allowing a hit is the longest streak to start a career against one team in the expansion era (since 1961). The record was previously held by Billy Wagner, who held the Pittsburgh Pirates hitless in their first 48 at-bats from 1996 to 2001.

Feliz was able to handle the move to the bullpen by mixing up his pitches. As a reliever, he threw a fastball on 80 percent of his pitches. The first time through the Seattle order on Tuesday, he threw heat on 69 percent of his pitches. After that, he relied on his fastball only 39 percent of the time.

For the game, Feliz mixed in sliders on 26 percent of his pitches and changeups on 23 percent. Mariners hitters were 1-for-8 in at-bats ending with a changeup, including two strikeouts.

Bard wasn’t as fortunate in his transition to the rotation. He allowed five earned runs without recording an out in the sixth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3.

In three years as a reliever, he threw fastballs 71 percent of the time and sliders 21 percent of the time. The key to his success out of the bullpen was his slider. Opponents missed nearly half the times they swung at the pitch. He was able to coax swings on sliders outside the zone nearly a third of the time.

On Tuesday, he threw the slider 35 percent of the time and was just as successful. The Blue Jays missed on nine of their 14 swings against the slider and four of Bard’s six strikeouts came on the pitch. But they were able to tee off on his fastball, getting eight hits in 17 at-bats ending with the pitch.

Bard was unable to establish a third pitch during the game. In the first four innings, he threw only four changeups and all of them missed the strike zone. He found the zone with three of six changeups to his last five batters and induced a groundout by Adam Lind.

Quick hits
Freddy Garcia tied the American League record with five wild pitches in his start against the Baltimore Orioles.

Jayson Werth recorded his eighth career four-hit game, his first since June 27, 2009.

The Detroit Tigers are the last undefeated team in the American League, despite not getting a decision from their starters.

The Atlanta Braves snapped a nine-game losing streak dating to last season with a win at the Houston Astros.

Andre Ethier celebrated his 30th birthday by hitting the game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth, his 11th career go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later.

Dan Braunstein contributed to this post.
There were a number of strong performances on the mound Monday. Here's a look at how some of Monday's pitchers got the job done:

How Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle shut out the Minnesota Twins:
Mark Buehrle
Buehrle

• Buehrle struck out four in 7 2/3 scoreless innings to lead the White Sox to a 3-0 win over the Twins. Buehrle earned his 27th career win against the Twins, the most wins for any active pitcher against a single team. Buehrle is now 27-19 in his career versus the Twins (most wins versus Minnesota since the team moved to Minnesota in 1960).

• In four starts against the Twins this season, Buehrle is 2-1 with a 0.29 ERA (30 2/3 IP, 1 ER). Buehrle is holding the Twins to a .144 average this season, but the numbers are even better against non-fastballs. After a 2 for 17 effort Monday, the Twins are now 5 for 51 (.098) in at-bats ending with Buehrle's non-fastballs.

• Buehrle did walk two hitters, but of the 29 hitters he faced, only one saw a 2-0 count. In addition, he only went to a three-ball count on four hitters (including the two walks).

How Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels bounced back against Cincinnati:
Cole Hamels
Hamels

• Hamels may not have gotten the win in his first start back from the disabled list, but he still pitched well enough to help the Phillies beat the Reds, 3-2. In his previous start before hitting the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Hamels' fastball averaged just 88.6 MPH, almost a full three MPH below his season average of 91.5. On Monday, Hamels' fastball averaged 90.1, a big step up from his last start, but still his second-slowest fastball of the season.

• Despite that, the pitch was effective for him. Reds hitters were just 1 for 11 with two strikeouts on at-bats ending with a Hamels fastball. Only one of the nine fastballs hitters put in play was well hit, according to Inside Edge.

• Hamels' changeup was dominant, as usual. Five of the six outs he recorded on his changeup were strikeouts. Reds hitters missed on eight of their 11 swings (72.7 percent) against the pitch, Hamels' third-highest miss percentage on his changeup in a start this season. No starter in baseball has induced swings and misses on changeups at a higher rate (51.2 percent) this season than Hamels.

How New York Yankees pitcher Freddy Garcia beat the Baltimore Orioles:
Freddy Garcia
Garcia

• Forty-four percent of pitches taken against him were called strikes, his highest percentage of the season.

• His fastest pitch was clocked at 89.6 mph. It was his fastest pitch since June 28, when he reached 90.9 mph on the gun.

•He recorded four strikeouts on the night – all four at-bats ended with a splitter.

• The home run Garcia surrendered to Mark Reynolds was his first allowed since June 7. Garcia went 69 innings between gopher balls – the longest active homerless streak among starting pitchers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Lee Singer and Mike Trainor contributed to this story.

Red Sox, Yankees battle for first

August, 7, 2011
8/07/11
1:00
PM ET
The Yankees and Red Sox play the rubber match of their three-game series in Boston at 8 ET on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees may be tied atop the American League East standings, but the rivalry has hardly been even this season. Boston has won nine of the first 11 matchups in 2011, outscoring the Yankees 72-44, as the Red Sox look to win the season series for the first time since 2004.

On the mound

Josh Beckett is on the bump for the Red Sox, looking to continue his dominance over the Yankees this season. He’s won all three starts, allowing just two earned runs in 21 innings with 25 strikeouts.

How has he been so successful against the powerful Yankees lineup? Beckett has silenced the heart of the order, holding the 3-4-5-6 batters to just two hits in 32 at-bats.

His curveball has been nearly unhittable in the three starts, as the Yankees have only one single in 17 at-bats ending in Beckett’s hook this season.

Freddy Garcia, who is on pace to post the second-lowest ERA in his 13-season major league career, gets the call for the Yankees. Garcia is 8-4 career against the Red Sox, but has really struggled against them this season, with an 0-2 record and 10.13 ERA in three outings.

Garcia doesn’t have overpowering stuff, with a fastball that averages just 87 mph, the fifth-slowest fastball velocity among AL pitchers. Garcia has been at his best when the pressure has been highest, limiting opponents to a .191 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Matchups to watch

Mark Teixeira
Teixeira
Mark Teixeira hit .351 and slugged .662 in 18 games against the Red Sox during his first season in pinstripes, but over the past two seasons he’s gone cold at the plate. He’s hitting just .198 in 29 games since then versus Boston, including 1-for-7 in the first two games of this series.

Kevin Youkilis may be having a subpar year compared to past seasons, but he’s always been a thorn in the Yankees’ side in his career. His .445 on-base percentage against New York is the highest among active players and his .950 OPS is sixth best (min. 200 PA).

Stat of the game

This will be the eighth time in the history of the rivalry that the Yankees and Red Sox have met on or after Aug. 1 tied for first place (the seventh time was on Friday night). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have won the past five such games, starting with the game that decided the 1949 pennant.
The story of the season has been Red Sox domination. It's the difference in the AL East race. With the Yankees traveling to Fenway Park to take on the Red Sox, it's time to break down how the season series has gone so far.

Here are some highlights about the head-to-head series:

• The Yankees will be trying to snap a seven-game losing streak in the series. That’s tied for the third-longest losing streak for the Yankees in the rivalry, behind only a nine-game streak from 2008-09 and a 17-game streak from 1911-12.

• The Yankee starters have struggled, with a 8.18 ERA in the nine games. The losers in the eight losses were mostly the pitchers upon whom they usually rely: Bartolo Colon (twice), CC Sabathia (3 times), Freddy Garcia (twice), A.J. Burnett (once).

• Sabathia is 0-3 with a 6.16 ERA vs the Red Sox this year (he’s 15-2 vs everyone else). In 2010, he was 1-0 with a 3.96 ERA, and in 2009, he was 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA.

• However, the Red Sox pitchers have held them to a .208 batting average with runners in scoring position. In three of the games, they failed to get a hit with runners in scoring position (0-3 on April 10, 0-10 on May 14, 0-7 on June 9), and in another game they got just one hit (1-7 on May 13).

• The Red Sox shut down the Yankee lefties (and when their switch-hitters hit lefty). Red Sox pitchers held Yankees left-handed batters to a .207 BA.

• Yankees were shut out twice in nine games; they have been shut out just three times otherwise.

Notable Yankees mediocrity:

Nick Swisher .188, 8 K
Brett Gardner .167, double and triple
Mark Teixeira .121 (4-33), 11 K, 0 XBH

Notable Red Sox standouts:

Dustin Pedroia: .500 (15-30), 4 doubles, 8 walks
Jacoby Ellsbury .371, 3 SB, 4 doubles
David Ortiz .324, 3 HR, 4 doubles, 9 RBI

• We should note that Pedroia was the AL Player of the Month for July. He led the Majors with 46 hits, the most hits for a Red Sox player during July of any season since 1939, when 3 future Hall of Famers each collected more: Bobby Doerr (52), Ted Williams (48) and Jimmie Foxx (47) (Elias). Pedroia also led Major Leaguers in total bases (81), tied for first in runs (27) and extra-base hits (18), and posted the second-best AVG in the ML at .411 (112 AB).

Derek Jeter: Return to Form?

• Derek Jeter has picked it up after getting his 3,000th hit on July 9. Jeter has four career five-hit games and two of them have come within the last four weeks. His numbers since July 10 are more in line with his career numbers.

The Setup Men: David Robertson and Daniel Bard

• David Robertson has better numbers vs opposite-handed batters (LHB) than same-handed batters (RHB) this year. His .169 BA vs LHB is fourth-best among AL RHP (min. 75 batters faced), while his 43 K vs LHB are the most among RHP relievers.

• He has yet to allow a run on the road in 20 appearances (21 1/3 IP).

• He has yet to allow a HR in 42 1/3 IP (most IP of any AL reliever who hasn’t allowed a HR yet this season).

• Opponents are 1-12 (.083) with 10 K with the bases loaded.

• Daniel Bard has been more effective vs righties this season. His .117 opponent BA vs RHB is the lowest among AL pitchers (min. 75 batters faced).

• Prior to allowing three runs in his last outing on August 1, Bard had made 25 straight scoreless appearances (since May 27), spanning 26 1/3 IP. During the streak, opponents hit .125 vs him, and RHB were 3-40 (.075).

• It was the most consecutive scoreless outings in Red Sox history. It was the longest streak of scoreless IP in a single season by a Red Sox pitcher since Bob Stanley had a 27-inning streak in 1980.

• Yankees are 1-14 (.071) against him this season.

• His opponent BA w/RISP of .133 is fifth-best in AL (min. 50 batters faced).

• He’s pitched on zero days rest 18 times, tied for the most in the AL.

Twins-Yankees matchups to watch

April, 6, 2011
4/06/11
3:41
PM ET
Tonight is the third game of a four-game set between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees (7 ET on ESPN2). Since 2002, the Twins are 17-46 against the Yankees, their worst record against any opponent over that span. Did you know? In the last 20 seasons, the Twins have only won a season series from the Yankees only 3 times — 1991, 1992 and 2001.

Carl Pavano
Pavano
Pavano’s Matchups to Watch
Nick Swisher is 1-for-6 against Carl Pavano in the regular season with 5 strikeouts. Pavano also struck him out twice in two at-bats in the 2009 ALDS (Swisher did go 1-3 against him last year’s ALDS).

Mark Teixeira’s lone HR against Pavano came in his last regular season AB against him - May 31, 2009.

On Carl Pavano’s Yankees tenure (and why wins don’t tell the whole story for a pitcher)
There are a number of pitchers who have been the subject of Yankees fans derision, among them Ed Whitson, Javier Vazquez, Kenny Rogers, Jeff Weaver, and Pavano. Yet those names all share a common thread. All finished with ERA’s of 5 or higher in their Yankees tenure … and they all finished their Yankees career with winning records!!

Freddy Garcia
Garcia
Garcia’s Matchups to Watch
Joe Mauer’s .419 BA vs Freddy Garcia includes a 6-for-10 in 2010. He homered in his last AB against Garcia on August 10, 2010.

Jason Kubel was 6-for-8 against Garcia last season with 3 BB. He’s reached base in 4 straight PA vs Garcia. One other note on Kubel: He went 7-for-15 with 3 HR against the Yankees in the regular season last year.

Jim Thome has walked 9 times against Garcia in 28 regular season plate appearance, and twice more in six postseason PA. His last 2 AB vs Garcia are a HR and a 2B.

Twins hitters hit .337 against Garcia last season (he made 4 starts vs MIN)

Jeter Watch
Derek Jeter is hitting .167 through the Yankees first 5 games of the season. The only season in which he hit worse within the Yankees first 5 games of a season was in 1998 when he was hitting .150 (3-for-20). Jeter rebounded to hit .324 and the Yankees ended up winning 114 games.

Mark Teixeira
Teixeira
Teixeira Watch
Mark Teixeira is hitting .373 in the regular season against the Twins. But if you just go back to 2007, it’s even more ridiculous. Since 2007, he’s hitting .453 against them in the regular season (39-for-86) and has a walk-off HR against them in the postseason.

Teixeira is glad to have Freddy Garcia on his team. Teixeira is 0-for-16 in his career against Garcia!

Twins righty struggles
The Twins are hitting .174 against right-handed pitching this season. Mauer’s game-winning hit last night made him 1-for-7 against right-handers this season.

Lastly, from the Elias Sports Bureau
The Twins came back from 4 down to beat the Yankees last night, the first time they've rallied from 4+ down to beat the Yankees since May 5, 1997 (the Yankees catcher that day was Joe Girardi), when they beat the Yankees, 9-8 at Yankee Stadium.
Our weekly statistical review of MLB moves focuses on notables who joined the AL East.

Vladimir Guerrero
Guerrero
How does Vladimir Guerrero have the potential to help the Baltimore Orioles? Let’s take a closer look.

Guerrero boosts the Orioles in multiple areas in which they were deficient last season. Baltimore slugged .358 against left-handed pitching, fourth-worst in baseball last season and the team’s worst since 1988.

In adding Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds, the Orioles netted three players whose combined slugging percentage vs lefties last season was .495. Guerrero slugged .536.

In all three spots in the lineup (DH, first base, third base), the Orioles have a player whose numbers vs lefties were better than the primary player used by Baltimore last season.

The other thing that comes with Guerrero is that Baltimore gets the same version of Guerrero when there are runners in scoring position as when there aren’t.

Guerrero has hit .300 or better in those situations in 12 of the last 13 seasons. His .321 batting average with runners in scoring position is a near match for what he hit in those situations last year (.320) and his career batting average overall (.320).

The Orioles hit .246 with runners in scoring position last season, fourth-worst in baseball.

Guerrero also figures to maintain his power in a hitter-friendly park.

While Rangers Ballpark was slightly favorable to right-handed batters over the last three seasons, with a home run park factor of 114 (according to The Bill James Handbook), Camden Yards is even more friendly, boosting homers for righties by 21 percent in that span, tied with Coors Field for the fourth-highest mark in the major leagues.

Lastly, though this won’t necessarily impact wins and losses, Guerrero still possesses a “wow” factor to his home run hitting. According to data compiled by our video review crew for Hittrackeronline.com, Guerrero averaged a distance of 408.14 feet per home run. That was 12 feet better than the big league average and eighth-best among the 47 players with at least 25 home runs in 2010. New teammate Reynolds ranked second.
-- Mark Simon, Katie Sharp, Derek Czenczelewski

Ramirez/Garcia battle worth watching
Manny Ramirez
Ramirez

The moves of Freddy Garcia (New York Yankees) and Manny Ramirez (Tampa Bay Rays) to the AL East increase the likelihood that the two will face off for the first time since 2006.

Ramirez has been Garcia’s kryptonite. A check of Baseball-Reference.com shows Ramirez has the highest OPS (1.559) and slugging percentage (1.042) among batters Garcia has faced at least 20 times (including postseason).

Ramirez has three homers, two doubles and a single over his last six at-bats versus Garcia, though they may go five years in between meetings.
--Katie Sharp

Reyes an unusual lefty in 2010
New potential Boston Red Sox lefty Dennys Reyes had some of baseball’s most unusual splits last season. Typically a lefty specialist, Reyes had far better success against right-handed hitters (.177 opponents batting average) than lefties (.307).

Dennys Reyes
Reyes
The discrepancy was wider when looking only at when contact was made. Within the small samplings faced by a lefty reliever, right-handers hit .418 when making contact, lefties just .193, both numbers out of sync with major league norms.

Reyes may have caught a couple of breaks against right-handers. Inside Edge, which tracks every major league pitch, has its video scouts chart “well-hit balls.” It is an opinion-based rating, but with parameters emphasizing line drives and long fly balls.

Right-handers who had a "well-hit ball" against lefties got a hit 66 percent of the time last season. But against Reyes, they were 6-for-16 (.375). Three or four more hits would have significantly impacted his numbers.

Reyes faced 75 right-handed hitters last season and did not allow a home run, third-most among lefties in the major leagues.
--Mark Simon
Tuesday saw three pitchers come into games with extended amounts of success against the teams they were facing. Unfortunately, all three saw their notable streaks come to an end.
Sabathia
New York Yankees' CC Sabathia: lost for the first time in nine starts against the Baltimore Orioles. He also lost at Yankee Stadium for the first time since July 2, 2009. That was a stretch of 21 consecutive home starts without a loss, which tied Whitey Ford for longest streak in franchise history. As for the pitcher who has suffered the most home losses July 2, 2009? The Cleveland Indians' Fausto Carmona, who is 8-12 in 24 starts at Progressive Field.

Chicago White Sox's Freddy Garcia: lost for the first time as a visitor at Comerica Park since Aug. 20, 2002 when he was with the Seattle Mariners. The White Sox had won all nine previous starts of Garcia's in Detroit prior to Tuesday's defeat.

Atlanta Braves' Tim Hudson: entered Tuesday with a 3-0 record while giving up just one unearned run in his last three starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Tuesday, Hudson allowed four runs in 6⅓ innings and took the loss in the Braves 5-0 defeat in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday's notables:

• New York Mets' Dillon Gee took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his major-league debut against the Washington Nationals (he allowed two hits in seven innings). Gee is the third Mets pitcher to take a no-hitter through five innings in his major-league debut, joining Randy Sterling (Sept. 16, 1974: five innings at Montreal Expos) and Brian Bannister (April 5, 2006: 5⅓ innings vs Nationals). Gee also is the first Mets pitcher to drive in a run in his debut.

Staying with the Mets, Ike Davis hit his 18th home run. He's two shy of joining Darryl Strawberry (26 in 1983) as the only Mets to hit at least 20 HR in their rookie season.

• The Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez became the first player in the National League to 100 RBI on Tuesday. The last time a Rockies player was the first to 100 RBI in the NL in a season was Preston Wilson in 2003.

• The Toronto Blue Jays have now hit at least three HR in 33 games this season. That's the most such games by a team since the Texas Rangers had 35 such games in 2005.
Thome
• The Minnesota Twins' Jim Thome hit his 586th career HR, tying Frank Robinson for eighth on the all-time list. It's also the 40-year-old veteran's third straight game with a HR. He's the first 40-year-old to homer in three straight games since Barry Bonds in 2006. The last 40-year-old Twins player to hit an HR in three straight games was Dave Winfield in 1993.

Saturday’s previews besides seeking #600

July, 24, 2010
7/24/10
10:23
AM ET
BOSTON RED SOX
Jon Lester at Seattle Mariners:
- Against his changeup, opponents are missing 35 percent (38/112) of the time.
- The Mariners are batting .198 (84/424) this season against the changeup which is 49 percentage points lower than the league average.

CHICAGO CUBS
-
Geovany Soto is having a great rebound year after a dismal 2009. Part of his success comes from his hitting to the opposite field:
2009 - .211 BA (12-for-57), .281 slug pct, 0 HR
2010 - .415 BA (17-for-41), .659 slug pct, 2 HR

CHICAGO WHITE SOX
-
Freddy Garcia: .304 opp BA vs offspeed pitches this season. His changeup may be extra effective against the Athletics today, as they're hitting 42 points worse than the rest of the league against that pitch.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS
-
Vladimir Guerrero has punished the Los Angeles Angels this season for perhaps giving up on him a bit too soon. Vlad is 11-for-26 this season against his former team, good for a .423 average in seven games. Guerrero is slugging 1.000 against the Halos this season with the Rangers, dwarfing the .425 MLB average.

One of the keys to his success has been his confidence with two strikes. Vlad boasts a .462 OBP with two strikes against the Angels, well above the .266 league average.

NEW YORK METS
Watch out for Mike Pelfrey's splitter vs Arizona today. Since June 25, he's thrown his splitter in the strike zone 46.4 percent of the time, getting hitters to miss 18.5 percent and chase 20.0 percent out of the strike zone. All better numbers than before his June 25th win against the Twins.

NEW YORK YANKEES
- And you knew we couldn't get through a post without mentioning Alex Rodriguez and his quest for his 600th HR today. He's hitting .314 (11-35) and has a .600 slugging percentage (21-35) with two strikes during the month of July (League average is .186 and .283, respectively).

A-Rod is seeking #600 coincidentally against Kyle Davies. Rodriguez hit his 500th career HR off of Davies on a Saturday afternoon back in 2007.

Alex Rodriguez - Career vs Kyle Davies
H-AB: 3-4
HR: 1<<<
RBI: 3
Slug pct: 1.750
<< 500th career HR on Aug. 4, 2007

1st Pitch: Bronx bases loaded bonanza

July, 7, 2010
7/07/10
1:25
PM ET
Quick Hits: Alex Rodriguez smacked his third grand slam of the season on Tuesday. It’s the fourth time he’s had multiple grand slams in a season, a feat only Jimmie Foxx can match according to the Elias Sports Bureau. With 21 in his career, A-Rod is tied with Manny Ramirez for second all-time behind Lou Gehrig (23). Let’s take a look at how others have fared with the bases loaded.
  • According to Elias, the Yankees’ nine grand slams before the All-Star break are a record. Three teams had eight slams before the break: the 2000 A’s, 2005 Red Sox and 2006 Indians.
  • Already, those nine grand slams are tied for the second-most in Yankees history.
  • With 123 RBI with the bases loaded, the Yankees already have more than 16 teams had all of last season. They are on pace for 240. Over the last 35 years, the only team with 200 bases loaded RBI in a season was the 2000 A’s with 203.
  • The Yankees are also hitting .422 with the bases loaded. Over the last 35 years, the highest bases-loaded batting average belonged to the 1976 Phillies (.410), according to STATS LLC.
  • Mark Reynolds has averaged about one home run per 16 at-bats in his career, but he is homerless in 46 bases-loaded at-bats with 21 strikeouts.
  • David Ross is just 1-for-3 this season with the bases loaded, but has managed seven RBI. Confused? Ross also has three walks and a hit by pitch with the bases full. In fact, three of his 12 walks this season have been with the bases loaded.
  • Torii Hunter is a perfect 6-for-6 with the bases full, leading to 14 of his 60 RBI on the season.
  • Hunter faces Freddy Garcia tonight. He has never allowed a grand slam to the 109 batters that he’s faced with the bases loaded, most of any active pitcher.
  • Half of Francisco Cervelli’s 30 RBI have come with the bases loaded.
  • B.J. Upton is 0-for-10 with the bases loaded this season after hitting .429 last season.
  • Ivan Rodriguez has grounded into a MLB-most four double plays with the bases loaded.
Today’s Trivia: Among active players, who has the most career home runs without a grand slam?

Today’s Leaderboad: The Rockies are hitting just .200 with the bases loaded this season, and join the Mets, Blue Jays and A’s as the only teams without a grand slam. In fact, the Rockies have one more bases-loaded strikeout than the Yankees, despite 42 fewer plate appearances.

Key Matchups: Tim Lincecum and Ryan Braun debuted within three weeks of each other in May 2007, and they’ve faced one another each year since. Braun has owned the matchup between the two phenoms, having hit .462 with a pair of home runs in 13 at-bats. In fact, Braun’s seven RBI are the most of anyone against Lincecum, despite the fact that the Giants’ ace has faced 49 batters on more occasions.

Torii Hunter hasn’t faced Freddy Garcia since 2006, but he sure would like to pick up where he left off. In 2006, Hunter went 7-for-12 with three home runs against Garcia. Overall, he’s a .400 hitter with four long balls. Estaban Loaiza (5) is the only pitcher he has taken deep more often.

Trivia Answer: Orlando Cabrera has yet to hit a grand slam in a career that has included 117 home runs. His 168 plate appearances with the bases loaded are also the most for any active player without a grand slam.

The Closer: King Felix reigns

June, 4, 2010
6/04/10
2:39
AM ET
On April 21, Felix Hernandez threw a complete game to beat the Orioles. In his next seven starts, Hernandez went winless despite holding opponents to two earned runs or fewer in four of those games. Thursday King Felix ended that skid by throwing eight innings, allowing just five hits and one earned run while tying a season-high with nine strikeouts.

Hernandez finished off his night in style, striking out four - you read that right... FOUR! - in the 8th inning tonight. He's the first to do it since Luke Gregerson and Ryan Dempster BOTH did in Oct. 4, 2009. He's the first Mariners pitcher to do it since Kazuhiro Sasaki on April 4, 2003. We break down how Hernandez got it done in this edition of The Closer.

Why Felix Hernandez won:

- Induced a season-high 25 at-bats ending in a fastball and three hits (tied for second-fewest) in those at-bats; six fastball strikeouts also a season-high
- Finished off 14 of 15 batters that reached two strikes (93 percent; MLB avg is 72)
- Of 31 batters faced, zero reached a 2-0 count and just three reached a 3-ball count (one walk, no hits)


Why Jered Weaver won:

- Curveball averaged only 70.8 mph, compared to his fastball at 90.6. That's the biggest differential between the two in any start this year. He recorded 16 swings-and-misses, 10 of those on fastballs which hitters had trouble catching up to.
- Threw a full 60% of his pitches either down in the strike zone or below it. That's his second-most in a start this season. Recorded as many ground balls as fly balls (eight each), the first time that's happened in five starts. Ten swings-and-misses were also on low pitches.
- Held Royals batters to 1-for-19 (.053) when even or Weaver was ahead in the count. That exactly matches the same numbers from his last start on May 29.
- Nine strikeouts, all swinging - his most in a victory this season.


Why Josh Johnson won:

- Hitters were 2-13 with four of his eight total K against slider (3-25 with seven of 14 total K over last 3 starts)
- 70 percent first-pitch strikes (MLB avg is 58); sixth time in 12 starts with at least 70 percent first-pitch strikes
- Of 30 batters faced, he went to a 2-0 count three times and 3-ball count four times


Why Freddy Garcia won:

- Threw 63 percent of pitches away, inducing hitters to go 2-16 with all four of his strikeouts on that outer third
- Against pitches out of the strike zone, hitters chased 36 percent of the time (his 2nd-highest this season) and were 3-16 (including 1-11 when out of the zone and away)
- Of 30 batters faced, he went to a 2-0 count three times and 17 batters (57 percent; MLB avg is 47) saw three pitches or less

The Closer: Strange day indeed

May, 17, 2010
5/17/10
1:17
AM ET
Sunday proves once again why baseball is such a great game. You'll see things you either have never seen or haven't seen in some time. Here are just a few of the many rarities that occurred across MLB on Sunday:

Mariano Rivera
He allowed a grand slam in a home game for the first time since 1995 against the Athletics (Geronimo Berroa). His streak of 51 straight saves at home comes to an end and he also walked a runner with the bases loaded for the first time since 2005.

Marlins Sweep Mets
It was just the second time in team history in which the Marlins swept a four-game series from their division rivals and the first time since 2004 in New York.

Jake Westbrook Throws a Complete Game?
He allowed one run in a complete game for the first time since August 9, 2006. He's won consecutive starts for the first time since 2007.

Cardinals out, Reds in
The Reds defeated the Cardinals Sunday to move into first place. That's somewhere Cincinnati hasn't been this late into a season since the 2006 season.

Be Proud of Prado
Martin Prado had four hits, two of which were homers in the Braves' 13-1 thumping of the Diamondbacks. He became the first Braves leadoff hitter to have two homers and four hits in a single game since Felipe Alou on April 26, 1966, against the Giants.

Cliff Lee
He threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts in a hard-luck loss to the Rays. He's the first Mariners pitcher with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game loss since Freddy Garcia on August 7, 1999. But while it was rare in recent years, that was something Randy Johnson did eight times with the Mariners.

Wade LeBlanc
Another ho-hum strong start from a Padres pitcher. LeBlanc unfortunately took the loss when he allowed 1 ER in 7 IP against the Dodgers. But he did extend his streak of starts with 2 ER or fewer to 6 straight from the start of the season. That’s the longest streak by a Padres pitcher to begin a year since Jake Peavy had a team-record 10 straight to start the 2004 season.

You Complete Me

Five pitchers threw complete games on Sunday (Lee, Westbrook, Joel Pineiro, Brett Myers and Bronson Arroyo). Sounds rare right? Actually it happened on July 10, 2009, when Jeff Niemann, Dan Haren, Zach Duke, Arroyo and Jonathan Sanchez did so. Sanchez threw a no-hitter that day.

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