W2W4: Yankees at Rays (Sept. 5)

Hiroki Kuroda Stats To Watch

Kuroda has pitched great in his last 18 starts, with a 2.42 ERA, but one thing to be wary of is that he has allowed four home runs in his last three starts.

Kuroda got roughed up by the Rays in his Yankees debut, allowing six runs in 5 2/3 innings on April 7. The key in that game was an inability to throw curves, sliders and splitters for strikes. He threw 18 of 37 for strikes (49 percent, well below his 61 percent rate for the season).

Kuroda has pitched at least eight innings in each of his last four starts. The last Yankees starter with a longer streak was David Cone (five straight in 1998).

Matt Moore Stats To Watch

After starting 1-5 with a 4.76 ERA, Moore is 9-3 since (including a win over the Yankees on July 2) with a 2.90 ERA. He has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last nine starts.

Moore can be a bit wild at times, but he curtailed that of late, with nine walks in his last 31 2/3 innings pitched. His strength is his ability to get swings and misses.

He's gotten a 27 percent miss rate on opponents' swings, ninth-best among the 95 pitchers who have qualified for the ERA title. His 29 percent rate against righties is the second-best among left-handed pitchers behind Francisco Liriano.

The interesting thing for Joe Girardi will be deciding whether to play Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki. Left-handed hitters are hitting .278 with a .374 on-base percentage against Moore this season, significantly better than right-handed hitters (.226/.308).

Among the 32 left-handed pitchers qualified for the ERA title, only Ricky Romero has a higher opponents' on-base percentage.

No Offense, None Taken

The Yankees are hitting .171 in their last five games, with no more than six hits in any of them. They've whiffed 36 times and walked 13. They have seven extra-base hits, with no more than two in any of these five games.

The streak of five straight games with six hits or fewer and two extra-base hits or fewer is a first for the Yankees in the Live Ball Era (since 1920).

The trouble with facing a lefty

The Yankees have a .235/.308/.395 slashline against left-handed pitching since the All-Star break, a batting average 22 points below the major-league average. Robinson Cano (.228), Curtis Granderson (.185), Russell Martin (.133), and Andruw Jones (.133) headline the strugglers.

This will be Alex Rodriguez's first game against a lefty since returning from the disabled list. He was 3-for-his-last-16 against lefties heading into the All-Star break.

How do you get B.J. Upton out?

Upton is 10-for-27 with three home runs in his last seven games, including one in each of the first two games of this series.

Upton still misses on pitches at a high rate. He has missed 42 percent of his swings during this hot stretch, but has made the ones he connected on count.

His vulnerability is pitches on the outer-half of the plate or off the plate. He has missed on 14 of 31 swings at those pitches, a rate that's above average even for him.