CC Sabathia Stats To Watch
The best thing that the Yankees have going for them is that Sabathia has looked like his old self in his last four starts. He's 3-0 in that span with a 1.65 ERA and .179 opponents' batting average.
Sabathia has gotten a lot of mileage out of his changeup in his last two starts, throwing it 63 times. He threw a season-high 32 against the Red Sox on Oct. 1 and then 31 more in Game 1 against the Orioles. That has netted him 16 outs and yielded only two baserunners (one hit, one walk)
That pitch figures to get a good amount of use against a couple of Orioles. Adam Jones has swung at 67 percent of the changeups he has faced this season from left-handed pitchers (well over the MLB average of 50 percent). Jones misses the pitch 37 percent of the time, but when he makes contact, he can be dangerous. He has a .324 batting average when an at-bat ends with a change.
Jason Hammel Stats To Watch
Hammel has made one start in the last four seasons in Yankee Stadium and it was a good one. He allowed two runs in six innings in a 2-1 loss on April 30.
Hammel did something in Game 1 that ran counter to what he had done for most of the season: pitched right-handed hitters (such as Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez) inside rather than away. It worked. After giving up a leadoff hit to Jeter, Hammel got Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin six of the next seven times he faced them.
What to do with Alex Rodriguez?
Rodriguez is 8-for-24 with four home runs in his career against Hammel, though on the down side, he's 0-for-his-last-5 against him, including postseason play.
For those clamoring for A-Rod to be benched, keep this in mind: LEric Chavez is 2-for-his-last-16, though in his case, he has two home runs and four walks in that span.
Rodriguez does not have the best history in winner-take-all postseason games. He's 0-for-13 in them, 0-for-12 as a Yankee.
Jeter will set a Yankees record for most appearances in a winner-take-all game with nine, matching the all-time mark held by David Justice. In those eight games, Jeter is hitting .324 with 11 hits, including a home run.
My colleague Katie Sharp (look for her Yankeemetrics column after the series concludes) notes that Jeter's four-game multi-hit streak matches the longest by a Yankee in a single postseason (last to do it was Ruben Sierra in 2004).
The other slumping Yankees
My Stats & Info colleagues also provided these tidbits on some of the Yankees' slumping hitters:
Of Curtis Granderson's 15 outs in this series, 12 have come on curves, sliders and changeups. Those account for 32 of the 66 pitches he has seen. He has missed on nine of his 17 swings against those pitches.
The Orioles have done a great job of keeping the ball away from Robinson Cano's hot spots. Of the 60 pitches he has seen, 43 have been to the outer-third of the plate, or off the outside corner.
Cano has made 12 outs without getting a hit against pitches to that area. Each of his six outs in Game 4 were on a pitch that was on the outer edge of the plate.
Elias Stat of the Day
Alex Rodriguez was removed in favor of a pinch-hitter in each of the last two games. The only other player ever to be pinch-hit for in a postseason game after having hit at least 500 career home runs was Mark McGwire in the last game of his major-league career.
Tony La Russa lifted McGwire in favor of Kerry Robinson in a sacrifice situation in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' Game 5 loss to the Diamondbacks in the 2001 NLDS.