With the Red Sox and Rays playing a three game series to start the week, the Yankees should have been presented with an excellent opportunity to gain some ground by beating up on the lowly Seattle Mariners. Unfortunately, Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez are lined up to pitch the first two games of the series, so taking two of three, not to mention sweeping, won’t be so easy.
With the Mariners about to waive the white flag on 2010, Lee is likely to be the one true difference maker available in the trade market. In fact, the rumors have already started, including more than a few that have the Mariners’ lefty landing in the Bronx. Such a scenario is unlikely, but Lee is all but assured of being somewhere else by this time next month. For the time being, however, Lee remains a Mariner, making him the Yankees’ problem tonight.
Including his two victories in the 2009 World Series, Lee is 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in five starts against the Yankkes since 2008, Lee’s Cy Young season. Yet, several current Yankees have had success against the talented lefty: Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez both have an OPS well above 1.000, while Jeter, Swisher and Posada all top the .900 mark. As a team, the Yankees have an OPS of .901 in 185 career plate appearances against Lee. Even though those figures do not include Lee’s two World Series victories, they do suggest that Lee will have his hands full with the Yankees lineup.
Even if Lee does have a strong outing, the Mariners still need to score runs off of Phil Hughes. With an OPS+ of 79 and a paltry runs per game of 3.40, the Mariners haven’t had much luck scoring off of anyone, so facing the Yankees talented young righty figures to be an even greater challenge. With the exception of the always dangerous Ichiro and defensive whiz Franklin Gutierrez, the rest of the Mariners lineup has performed not only well below expectations, but also well below league average (the Mariners have five regulars with an OPS+ below 78). In order to help boost their floundering offense, the Mariners reacquired Russell Branyan, and he is batting third in the lineup tonight.
One potential pitfall for Hughes could be the long layoff since his last start. In an effort to curtail his number of innings, the Yankees skipped over Hughes’ last turn in the rotation, giving him 10 days of rest before tonight’s start. It remains to be seen if that long period of inactivity will result in a loss of command, but assuming he is able to quickly shake of the rust, Hughes should be primed for a strong start against the run starved Mariners.
|vs. Cliff Lee||PA||BA||OBP||SLG||HR||RBI|
|Derek Jeter SS||30||0.407||0.467||0.519||0||5|
|Nick Swisher RF||24||0.333||0.458||0.444||0||1|
|Mark Teixeira 1B||26||0.391||0.462||0.696||1||6|
|Alex Rodriguez 3B||20||0.333||0.450||0.733||2||6|
|Robinson Cano 2B||19||0.222||0.263||0.222||0||1|
|Jorge Posada DH||22||0.286||0.273||0.667||2||5|
|Curtis Granderson CF||38||0.278||0.316||0.417||1||3|
|Chad Huffman LF||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||1|
|Francisco Cervelli C||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|vs. Phil Hughes||PA||BA||OBP||SLG||HR||RBI|
|Ichiro Suzuki RF||3||0.333||0.333||0.333||0||0|
|Chone Figgins 2B||4||0.000||0.250||0.000||0||0|
|Russell Branyan 1B||4||0.333||0.500||1.333||1||1|
|Milton Bradley DH||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Jose Lopez 3B||4||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Franklin Gutierrez CF||1||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Jack Wilson SS||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Rob Johnson C||3||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Michael Saunders LF||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Yankees vs. Mariners|
|Season: 2010||Season: 2009||Season: 2008||All-Time|
|TIED: 0-0||NYY: 6-4||NYY:7-2||NYY:197-157|