W2W4: Rangers at Yankees (Aug. 13)

US Presswire

David Phelps makes his first start since July 4.David Phelps Stats to Watch

Phelps has been terrific in relief since the All-Star Break, allowing no runs, three hits, and two walks in 10⅔ innings pitched. Opponents are 3-for-34 against him and he has been equally good versus lefties (1-for-14) and righties (3-for-20).

What Phelps has done differently against lefties in the second half is to come inside on them. Of his 63 pitches to lefties since the All-Star Break, 28 were on the inner-third of the plate or closer (44 percent). In the first half, only one-third of his pitches were inner-third or closer.

He has also located his pitches differently to righties, dropping his rate of pitches located in the upper-third of the hitter's strike zone or above from 21 percent (pre-break) to 11 percent (post-break).

The Lowe Down

What are the Yankees getting in Derek Lowe?

There were two versions of Lowe this season: the good one, who was 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA in his first eight starts of the season, and the bad one, who was 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA in his last 13 starts.

The good version was averaging only one "hard hit" ball for about every 5.5 balls in play. The bad one was averaging one for every four balls in play.

Lowe lives off balls in the lower-third of the zone, but that's what has been getting hit recently. The good Lowe allowed two extra-base hits on balls to that area. The bad one allowed 13, including four home runs.

How to Get Josh Hamilton Out

Hamilton had an awful two months, hitting .188/.279/.370 from June 1 to July 29. But he broke out of his slump with a three-hit day on July 30 and is hitting .345 and slugging .655 slugging since then.

He is crushing fastballs during this recent hot streak (1.191 OPS) but has been vulnerable to breaking pitches. He has just four hits in 22 at-bats (.182) ending in curves and sliders since July 30 and is chasing nearly 70 percent of those pitches thrown out of the strike zone.

Ryan Dempster Stats to Watch

After giving up eight runs in his Rangers debut, Dempster threw a quality start in his second outing for the team last week against the Red Sox.

He pitched well from the stretch against Boston, giving up only one hit in nine at-bats with runners on base; in his first start after the trade, the Angels were 4-for-8 with men on base against him.

Dempster is 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees. They are the only team he has failed to beat among those he has pitched at least 15 innings against. The 6.45 ERA is his second-worst among that set of teams, behind only his 6.96 ERA versus the Rockies.

Going Streakin'

Yankees have won five straight home games vs. the Rangers, their longest home win streak against Texas since 2005.

If they win tonight, it will be just their second home win streak of at least six games against the Rangers in the last 25 years. The only other time it happened was from 1994-96 when they won eight in a row.