W2W4: Yankees at Tigers (August 9)

AP Photo/John Amis

Hiroki Kuroda is 4-1 with a 0.25 ERA when pitching during the day this year.Hiroki Kuroda Stats To Watch

Kuroda has a 1.27 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over 28⅓ innings in his past four starts, but what really stands out are his defense-independent numbers -- his 22-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and his no home runs allowed.

He was slightly more hittable in his last start against the Mariners, allowing eight line drives, the most he’s allowed in any start over the past four seasons.

Kuroda gave up three hits and a walk with his slider against Seattle, though one came on an almost unhittable pitch and another came on a pitch below the knees. His slider had been super in the three starts prior to that, netting 15 outs and allowing only two baserunners.

Kuroda has walked no more than one batter in each of his past seven starts. The last Yankees pitcher with a longer such streak was Mike Mussina, who had an eight-start run with one walk or fewer in 2008.

Kuroda’s success in the daytime has been nothing short of amazing. He’s 4-1 with a 0.25 ERA in 36⅓ innings over five daytime starts, with no home runs allowed.

The lowest single-season ERA by a Yankees pitcher in day games is 0.28 by reliever Steve Hamilton over 32⅔ innings in 1967. The lowest by any major-league pitcher who made at least five daytime starts is 0.38 by Buck O’Brien of the 1911 Red Sox. Keep in mind all games were day games back then.

Doug Fister Stats to Watch

Fister has been lights-out since the break, going 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA, a huge improvement over his 2-6 record and 4.75 ERA in the first half.

Right-handers have just five hits in 45 at-bats (.111) against him in the second half, after they tagged him for a .266 average before that. Forty percent of his pitches to righties since the break have been of the offspeed variety, and they have gotten him 17 outs with only one hit allowed.

Fister also has gotten more support from his infield defense since the break. In the first half, the Tigers converted less than three-quarters of his ground balls into outs. Since the break, more than 85 percent of his grounders have been turned into outs.

Key Matchups

No players on either team have a lot of history against Kuroda and Fister, though a couple sluggers have some eye-popping numbers in small sample sizes.

Mark Teixeira is 5-for-13 (.385) against Fister, including the postseason. Of those five hits, four were for extra bases (two doubles, triple, homer). His .923 slugging percentage vs. Fister is his fourth-best against active right-handed pitchers (min. 13 PA).

Miguel Cabrera has three hits in six at-bats against Kuroda. Those three hits are two homers and a double. Yes, that is a 1.667 slugging percentage. Cabrera is one of 11 MLB players (and five AL players) with two homers off Kuroda; no one has hit more than two home runs off the Japanese pitcher in his career.