First Pitch: Yanks at Blue Jays (Aug. 10)

Freddy Garcia Stats to Watch

Garcia continues to pitch well since returning to the rotation in July, with three runs or fewer allowed in six of those seven starts.

However, he lacked his usual command in his most recent start against the Mariners last Sunday. He issued four walks, which was twice as many as in his previous three starts combined.

Binder Debates
Friday's Game

Garcia threw a first-pitch ball to nearly half the Mariners he faced (11 of 23), and six of those 11 batters that got to 1-0 counts reached base. In his previous three starts, less than a third of the hitters that went to 1-0 counts against Garcia reached base.

Yet Garcia showed in that game that he can pitch under pressure, allowing one hit in four at-bats with runners on base. Since the beginning of July, Garcia is holding batters to a .174 average (and no extra-base hits) with men on base.

Garcia has a career 6.02 ERA against the Blue Jays, his worst ERA against any AL team. He’s really struggled north of the border, losing his last five starts in Toronto with 25 runs allowed in 24 innings during that span.

He is the fifth major-league pitcher to lose five straight road starts against the Blue Jays; no pitcher has lost six consecutive starts in Toronto.

Ricky Romero Stats To Watch

Romero has gotten repeatedly drubbed recently. He’s lost seven straight decisions, with a 6-0 loss to the Yankees on July 18 included in that span.

Ricky Romero Changeup

He’s 0-7 with an 8.06 ERA in his last eight starts, though he allowed only one run in seven innings in a no-decision against the Athletics in his last start.

One of Romero’s biggest issues is wildness. He’s walked as many as he’s struck out (28) in his last 41 1/3 innings.

Romero’s signature pitch, his changeup, has been ineffective in this run. The chart on the right shows the success of it prior to this slump, compared to its current struggles.

How do you get Edwin Encarnacion out?

With Jose Bautista out with an injury, the Blue Jays top power threat is Edwin Encarnacion, who is 7-for-19 with four doubles and a home run against the Yankees this season.

Encarnacion is hitting .276 with 19 home runs against right-handed pitching this season.

His sweet spot against righties is against pitches in the lower-third of the strike zone (a .403 batting average and seven home runs against pitches to that area).

The weakness that Garcia can attack is up-and-in or up-and-away.

Encarnacion ranks in the bottom 15 percent in OPS among batting-title qualifiers against pitches thrown to those areas, whether they be in or out of the strike zone.

Canadian Blues

The Yankees have dropped their last three games in Toronto, scoring no more than one run in each game, the first time they’ve ever done that against the Blue Jays.

It’s their longest road losing streak against any opponent, while scoring one run or fewer in each game, since a four-game streak against the Tigers from 1998-99.