W2W4: Mariners at Yankees (Monday)

Stat of the Day

Courtesy of the brilliant statkeepers at the Elias Sports Bureau: The Yankees will be playing a team with a losing streak of at least 15 games for the first time since September 7, 1926 against the Red Sox, who entered with a 16-game losing streak. The Yankees won, 4-2. The last time the Yankees lost to a team that had lost 15+ in a row was on September 8, 1926, when they lost to those same Red Sox, 5-2

Jason Vargas Stat To Watch

Vargas has had trouble finishing off Yankees hitters when he’s gotten to a two-strike count. In his last three starts (dating back to last season), the Yankees are 11-for-30 against him in two-strike situations, including three hits that plated four runs in a 7-1 Yankees win on May 29.

Other opponents are hitting .186 against Vargas in two-strike situations since 2010.

A caution to the Mariners: The last four times an opponent has started a left-handed pitcher in Yankee Stadium, they’ve lost the game. The last lefty starter to beat the Yankees in the Bronx was Jon Lester on June 7.

Freddy Garcia Stat To Watch

Garcia has not allowed a home run in his last seven starts, the best run of his career to date.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that five of those seven starts came on the road (he survived homer-friendly Cincinnati and Toronto). He’s gone two straight at home without yielding one.

In those five road starts, Garcia yielded 58 balls that our batted-ball system classified as fly balls without letting one leave the ballpark. That’s tough to do.

He’s given up 69 fly balls at Yankee Stadium this season, with five going for home runs (two line drives cleared the fences as well).

By the way, one odd quirk about Garcia pitching against his former team. He’s 4-3 against them. He went 0-3 against them as a member of the World Series champion White Sox in 2005, but has won three straight decisions against them since then.

How much do the Yankees miss A-Rod?

Since Alex Rodriguez went down, the players who have replaced him within the starting lineup (Ramiro Pena, Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Laird) are a combined 8-for-46. Laird is 0-for-5 in his two-start stint.

Ichiro Suzuki Stat To Watch

Suzuki is a .370 career hitter against Garcia and has never struck out against him. Via Baseball-Reference.com, that’s his third-most at-bats against a pitcher without a strikeout. He never struck out in 35 at-bats against Nate Robertson and has not whiffed in 32 at-bats against Twins pitcher Scott Baker.

Suzuki might want to teach something to struggling teammate Chone Figgins, who is 3-for-32 against Garcia with 12 whiffs.

Ichiro vs Out of Strike Zone Pitches
When Making Contact

Suzuki is in the middle of a rough season by his standards, partly attributable to one interesting stat through our pitch-performance data. Check out the chart on the right, which shows his dramatic decline when he makes contact with a pitch deemed by ballpark Pitch F/X tracking to be out of the strike zone

Don’t forget about…

Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan was 5-for-10 with two walks in the first series between these teams this season. He cooled off soon after. In his first 45 games after that series, Ryan hit .249 with a .606 OPS. But then Sunday, he had two hits and five RBI, including a grand slam, in a loss to the Red Sox.