Inside the Numbers: Starting Pitchers

The Yankees haven't written their proposed three man rotation in stone, but some Phillies hitters would probably prefer having someone else take a turn on the hill. Then again, some key Yankees have struggled against the Phillies starters. We're going inside the numbers with a look at the starting pitching of the Yankees and the Phillies.

Cliff Lee has seen his share of action against the New York Yankees, starting nine games against them. In those nine games, he's seen a lot of ups and downs, but the bottom line is his 4-4 record with a 5.02 ERA. The good news is that at the 'house across the street from the house that Ruth built', he had success in his one start there earlier this season when he was with Cleveland. In that start, he went six innings and allowed just one earned run to get the victory over New York.

Overall, the Yankees hitters have had some success against Lee. There are six current Yankees who have 20 or more plate appearances against Lee and only one of them - Johnny Damon, .091 - has an average under .286 against Lee in their career. Derek Jeter leads the pack with a career .407 mark against Lee, followed by Mark Teixeira (.391), Nick Swisher (.333), Alex Rodriguez (.333) and Jorge Posada (.286). Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano both have 19 plate appearances against Lee with differing results. Matsui has hit .294 against Lee, while Cano averages .222 against the left-hander.

Some people were surprised by the pick of Pedro Martinez to start Game Two. In his storied career, Martinez has started 32 games against the Yankees and has posted a 3.20 ERA and has split his record, going 11-11. Martinez hasn't faced the Yankees since May of 2006 when he threw seven shutout innings against them, getting a no-decision in a game that the Mets lost to the Yankees 5-4.

There are six current Yankees with at least 20 plate appearances against Martinez and they have a combined .226 average against the future Hall of Famer. Only Alex Rodriguez (.291) and Jerry Hairston (.370) have had much success against Martinez in their careers. Hideki Matsui (.143), Jorge Posada (.183) and Johnny Damon (.200) have all struggled against Martinez over his lengthy career.

Cole Hamels, the Game Three starter, made one start for the Phillies at the New Yankees Stadium this season and pitched well over six innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out five, but taking a no-decision. That was one of two starts that Hamels has had against New York in his career and he pitched well in both. In his career, Hamels has a 2.77 ERA and has thrown 13 innings in his two starts. None of the Yankees have seen much of Hamels, with only Mark Teixeira and Jerry Hairston having ten or more plate appearances against him. Teixeira has hit .294 with two home runs in 17 at-bats against Hamels, while Hairston is a career .200 hitter with one home run in ten at-bats against Hamels.

While Johnny Damon has struggled against Lee and Martinez, he's 3-for-5 (.600) in his career against Hamels. Of the other two potential starters for the Phillies - J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton - Damon has also struggled, hitting just .200 (2-for-10) against Blanton and going 0-for-3 against Happ. Against current Phillies pitchers, Damon is a career .194 (20-for-103) hitter against the Phillies. Chad Durbin (2-for-16, .125) and Chan Ho Park (2-for-13, .154) have been especially tough against Damon.

If you go strictly by the numbers, look for Alex Rodriguez to be a tough out for the Phillies, while Johnny Damon would figure to struggle against Phillies pitching.

So, what about the Phillies against the Yankees pitchers? We well remember last postseason when the Phillies ripped CC Sabathia for five runs in 3 2/3 innings of work when he was with Milwaukee. The difference is that Milwaukee had to whip Sabathia to the finish last season, getting everything that they could out of him, while he was able to coast late in the year with the Yankees this season. He comes into the playoffs a much more refreshed pitcher than he was when the Phillies saw him in last year's NLDS.

Sabathia has made three regular season starts against the Phillies and is 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA in those games. He's averaged just under seven innings per start.

Only Raul Ibanez has more than 20 plate appearances against Sabathia in his career and has hit .275 (11-for-40) against Sabathia. Jimmy Rollins (4-for-11, .364), Carlos Ruiz (2-for-3, .667), Ryan Howard (3-for-7, .429) and Shane Victorino (3-for-7, .429) have all had some success against Sabathia and those numbers don't include the damage that they did to him last fall. Pedro Feliz and Jayson Werth are both 0-for-6 against Sabathia.

Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have the most experience against A.J. Burnett. Rollins has hit .256 (11-for-43) against Sabathia, while Utley has hit him at a .286 (6-for-21) rate. Raul Ibanez (.267) has done fairly well against Burnett, while Pedro Feliz (.133) and Ryan Howard (.167) have both struggled. Howard has hit two home runs against Burnett in 12 at-bats, accounting for his only two hits against Burnett.

Burnett, who spent a lot of time in the National League as a fixture of the Florida Marlins rotation, has started 16 games against the Phillies and is 5-8 with a 4.75 ERA.

Finally, we come to Andy Pettitte. The veteran lefty has seven career starts against the Phillies and has averaged just under six innings per start with a 2-2 record and 3.67 ERA against them. The Phillies faced him back in May and hit him for four earned runs over seven innings in a 5-4 Yankees win that saw Pettitte get a no-decision.

Miguel Cairo and Raul Ibanez have seen the most of Pettitte, with Cairo hitting .278 and Ibanez hitting .286 against Pettitte. Jimmy Rollins (4-for-18, .222) and Jayson Werth (1-for-13, .077) have both struggled against Pettitte in their careers. The bad news too, is that Ryan Howard is just 1-for-9 (.111) against Pettitte with no home runs and no RBI. Perhaps Ben Francisco (2-for-5, .400) and Shane Victorino (3-for-6, .500) will come through for the Phillies.

If you play the numbers game, you can look for Raul Ibanez to have success in the World Series, while Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard would figure to struggle against Yankees pitching.



Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories