W2W4: Yankees at Athletics (May 27)

Theme of the Matchup

Both of Sunday’s starters, Hiroki Kuroda and Tom Milone, rank among the pitchers who most frequently leave their fastball in a danger spot over the middle of the plate height-wise.

Kuroda’s rate of fastballs thrown to that area typically is around one-third of those thrown. That’s upped to 41 percent this season, and those couple of extra pitches have been hit hard.

Opponents are slugging .538 against those mid-level fastballs from Kuroda this season, up from .381 in 2011.

New York Yankees
Last 11 Games

Milone’s numbers are better, but that may be a product of his home ballpark. Opponents are 4-for-20 in at-bats ending with a mid-level fastball vs Milone in Oakland, 9-for-24 with three homers elsewhere.

Hiroki Kuroda Stats To Watch

From Yankeemetrics writer Katie Sharp: Kuroda has lost each of his first four road starts, posting a 6.23 ERA over 21⅓ innings. His four-start road losing streak is tied with Steve Trout (1987) for the third-longest such streak to start a career as Yankee in the Live Ball Era.

The only Yankees pitchers with longer streaks to begin their pinstripe careers are Monk Dubiel (1944) and Steve Barber (1967), who lost their first five road starts as Yankees.

Look out for the Changeup

Milone’s signature pitch is his changeup and that could pose a problem for two potential Yankees hitters today. Russell Martin and Andruw Jones have the same numbers against changeups from lefties since the start of last season.

Each is 3-for-28 when that pitch ends an at-bat, with a home run and 10 strikeouts.

Three’s Company

The Yankees have hit three home runs in three straight games. The only time in the Live Ball Era that they had a streak of four in a row was in 1956. Their opponents were the Athletics (then based in Kansas City) and the Indians. Their homer hitters in the fourth game were Mickey Mantle (with two) and Billy Martin.

The last team in the majors to hit at least three home runs in four straight games was the 2009 Blue Jays.

Jeter Meter

Derek Jeter is tied for 14th all-time on the career hits list with George Brett at 3,154. After Jeter passes Brett, his next target is Cal Ripken Jr. at 3,184.

Jeter is at 66 hits through the Yankees first 46 games. His high for most hits in the Yankees first 50 games of a season is 73, done in 1999.

If he averages two hits a game in the next four games, he’ll have the most hits by a Yankee through the team’s first 50 games since Mickey Mantle had 75 in 1956.

You’re on the Mark

Mark Teixeira has three home runs in the Yankees last two games. He’ll be trying to bust out of a slump against lefties today. Teixeira is 2-for-15 against left-handed pitching dating back to May 6.