Phil Hughes Matchups to Watch
Much like Hiroki Kuroda’s performance against right-handed hitters was likely to level out, Phil Hughes may be due for a little improvement when he faces the Royals today.
Hughes has given up 17 hits and four home runs to right-handed hitters, who are batting .347 against him, largely due to his start against the Angels, in which he allowed seven hits and two homers to righties.
Hughes’ four homers allowed to righties this season are unusual. He gave up a total of five to them last season in more than twice as many at-bats.
It would be a bad sign if Hughes gave up anything to Royals rightfielder Jeff Francoeur. He’s faced Francoeur seven times, and got him out all seven, with four whiffs.
Luke Hochevar Matchups to Watch
Hochevar has been very hittable through the first month of the season. He gave up seven runs to the Indians on April 13 and nine runs to the Tigers in his most recent start.
One of every four balls that Hochevar allows to be hit is a line drive, the highest rate of any pitcher on the Royals, and above the major league average of 18 percent.
The Yankees in the best position to thrive against that would be Raul Ibanez, whose 24 percent rate ranks just about even for the highest among healthy Yankees with Andruw Jones.
Ibanez has hit 14 line drives this season, though most of them have had the misfortune of being right at people. He’s 6-for-14 when hitting one. A typical major leaguer nets 10 hits for every 14 line drives he hits.
The Royals induced Jeter into an 0-for-4 on Saturday, and their means of getting him out was to pitch him inside.
Of the 14 pitches Jeter saw, 10 were on the inner-third of the plate or closer to him. Three of Jeter’s four outs came against inside pitches.
Felipe Paulino and company had success where their other pitchers did not. Jeter had three hits earlier in the series against inside pitches.
Hochevar is more likely to try to work Jeter elsewhere. Of the last 84 pitches he's thrown to right-handed hitters, only 16 have come inside.