W2W4: Yankees at Athletics (July 21)

US Presswire

Phil Hughes starts tonight in Oakland, the site of one of the best games of his career.Phil Hughes Stats To Watch

Hughes has fond memories of the Coliseum in Oakland, having made one of his best career starts at the stadium in April of 2010. That day he allowed just one run over 7⅓ innings while striking out a career-high 10 batters.

This will be his first start against the A's this season, after two disaster outings against them in 2011, when he gave up six-plus runs and failed to complete five innings in each start. No Yankee pitcher has done that three times in a row against Oakland in the Live Ball era.

Hughes has struggled against the AL West this season. He is 1-2 with an 8.53 ERA in four starts against those teams, by far his worst ERA vs any division. His only start in California this year was also his worst of 2012, a seven-run, 11-hit disaster versus the Angels on May 28.

On a positive note, Hughes has pitched well in his last four starts since a six-run clunker on June 20, recording a 2.22 ERA over 28⅓ innings. He has challenged hitters inside, throwing nearly 30 percent of his pitches on the inner third of the plate compared to 20 percent in his previous 14 starts.

Opponents have a .185 batting average in at-bats ending on inside pitches over his last four starts, after they crushed him for a .308 average and a .718 slugging percentage on those pitches in his first 14 starts.

An underrated part of Hughes' season so far has been his ability to limit line drives, which typically become hits about three-quarters of the time. His line drive rate of 14.5 percent is the best among AL pitchers. He hasn’t given up a liner in his past two starts and has allowed more than two in a game just twice.

Jarrod Parker Stats To Watch

Parker will be the third A's rookie in three games to face the Yankees. Parker is one of the top rookie pitchers, but has given up 10 runs over 10⅔ innings in his last two starts, after posting a 2.46 ERA to start the season.

The right-hander had a lot of trouble getting righties out in those two starts, giving up eight hits in 16 at-bats (.500) to the Twins' and Mariners' right-handed batters. In his first 13 starts, righties hit .198 against him, which was the fourth-best mark among AL starters during that span.

This will be Parker's first career start against the Yankees, but he has had success this year pitching against the AL East. He is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in two starts against Boston and one against Toronto.

Like most A's pitchers, Parker loves pitching in Oakland. He owns a 2.45 ERA in eight home starts, and a 4.08 ERA in seven road starts. Interestingly, his four homers allowed are split evenly on the road and at home. However, he does enjoy a .267 BAPIP at home compared to .287 mark on the road.