W2W4: Yankees at Blue Jays (Saturday)

Ricky Romero Stat to Watch

Romero has been a helper to the Yankees enemy, the Red Sox, this season. He’s got a 1.93 ERA in two starts against the Rays in 2011, and a 2.08 ERA against the Yankees this season. But he’s been mauled for 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings by Red Sox hitters.

Romero has given the Yankees trouble in the past. He has two very efficient strikeout pitches-- a curveball and changeup. Earlier this week, Baseball Tonight introduced a stat called “Putaway Rate” that showed who was best at striking out a hitter once he got to two strikes against him. Both of Romero’s pitches ranked near the major league lead.

CC Sabathia Stat to Watch

Sabathia has won his last five decisions against the Blue Jays, with his last three being starts that lasted eight-or more innings.

Sabathia’s numbers against individual Blue Jays represent total ownership of them. A sampling in the form of two players: Aaron Hill is 3-for-26 against Sabathia; Rajai Davis is 4-for-26.

Jose Bautista may want to wait another day before returning. He’s 0-for-15 career against Sabathia, the worst current 0-for of any active hitter against the Yankees ace.

Jeter Watch

Jeter is 2-for-20 in his career against Romero, the two hits being a home run and an infield single.

Our pitch performance data from the last three seasons shows he’s 0-for-8 when the at-bat ends in a curveball or changeup, with only two of those outs coming on pitches that were definitively in the strike zone. That’s an indication of how tough Romero can make things on opposing hitters.

Day-field advantage

The Yankees are an MLB-best 26-5 in day games this season. The Blue Jays are 13-23, their .361 winning percentage ranks second-worst in the majors, better only than the Astros’ .310.

Who is most proficient in day baseball for the Yankees?

Interestingly, it’s Jeter, who is hitting .345, with a .414 on-base percentage and eight extra-base hits in 99 daytime plate appearances.

Brett Gardner isn’t far behind with a .330 batting average and an on-base percentage that matches Jeter’s .414. He may not start against Romero, but those numbers may make Joe Girardi think twice. His other option, Andruw Jones, is 1-for-12 against Romero.

Curtis Granderson is also a hitter who likes the sun, hitting .330 with eight home runs in 112 day at-bats this season.

Elias' Stats of the Day

A couple of late additions, courtesy of the morning notes from the Elias Sports Bureau.

These last two days marked the first time that the Blue Jays ever won consecutive games by margins of six or more runs in one series against the Yankees, who hadn’t lost back-to-back games, both by such lopsided scores, since July 27–28, 2008 (9–2 against the Red Sox and 13–4 vs. Baltimore).

The Yankees have lost their first two games following the All-Star break for the first time since 2001. They haven’t started the unofficial “second half” of a season with three straight defeats since 1992.

Sabathia has a current scoreless streak of 23 2/3 innings, the longest of his career. He had one previous scoreless streak of at least 20 innings, 22 in June 2007 with the Indians.

The last Yankee starting pitcher with a scoreless streak as long was Tom Underwood in May, 1980 (24 2/3 IP).

No Yankees starting pitcher has had a scoreless streak of at least 25 innings since Catfish Hunter in 1975 (26.0 IP).