Pettitte Stats To Watch
Andy Pettitte was very unhappy with his last start against the Mets, in which he yielded five runs in the first inning, but it should be noted that after that, he pitched very well.
Pettitte retired 15 of the last 17 hitters he faced in the second through sixth innings and the slider that has been so important to his success netted him nine outs. Pettitte got Mets hitters to miss on 10 of their 17 swings against the slider in the last five innings.
The first inning does bear watching for Pettitte. Take the Mets start out of the mix and opponents were 1-for-21 against him in the opening frame in his other starts.
The Indians are one of two current AL teams that Pettitte does not have a winning record against. He’s 8-8, but has won his last two decisions against them. The other is the Mariners, against whom he is 11-12.
Jimenez Stats To Watch
Ubaldo Jimenez is among the major league leaders in walks and wild pitches, a combo that wouldn’t seem to be a good fit to face the Yankees. But he did survive a shaky beginning in his lone start against the Yankees last season, allowing two runs and and four hits over seven innings in a win with the Rockies last June 24.
Jimenez’s average fastball velocity has dropped from 96 mph in 2010 to 92 mph this season. In 2010, Jimenez was getting misses on about one of every five swings against fastballs, but that rate has now dropped to one of every nine.
Jimenez has 26 strikeouts and 40 walks with his fastball this season. That -14 differential is the worst in baseball among ERA-title qualifiers.
Jimenez does have good numbers against one Yankee. Mark Teixeira is 0-for-10 in his career against him.
The Yankees have shaken out of their runners-in-scoring-position struggle by going 5-for-11 through the first two games of this series. The one player not yet out of it is Alex Rodriguez, who is hitting .206 in such situations this season. What’s particularly odd for Rodriguez is that he’s 0-for-8 against what our pitch-tracking system describes as “middle-middle” pitches with runners in scoring position -- those that a major league hitter most typically crushes.
Just in the Nick of Time
Nick Swisher is in the midst of a pretty good roll right now, hitting .410 over the last two weeks. The thing to watch when Swisher is at the plate is his pitch selectivity. He’s been much less apt to swing at pitches out of the strike zone during this hot streak.
Prior to this tear, Swisher was swinging at about one of every four pitches thrown out of the strike zone, a rate he’s dropped to one of every six in this good run. It’s helped that he’s a scalding 16-for-his-last-27 in at-bats that end with pitches in the strike zone.
This series snapped a streak of five straight series in which Boone Logan made at least two appearances. Logan’s rest comes during what has been a very effective stretch. He’s got six holds and two wins in his past 16 appearances and has only been charged with two runs in that stretch (he’s allowed two of 10 inherited runners to score). Remember that dating back to the Mets series, Logan has whiffed each of the past four lefties he’s faced.