A first place showdown in May…
Batter Bats LHOPS RHOPS
Derek Jeter Right .900 .734
Curtis Granderson Left .614 .890
Mark Teixeira Switch .918 .913
Alex Rodriguez Right .855 .936
Robinson Cano Left .846 .833
Nick Swisher Switch .826 .828
Jorge Posada Switch .817 .843
Russell Martin Right .742 .713
Brett Gardner Left .692 .738
Francisco Cervelli Right .791 .618
Eduardo Nunez* Right .692 .662
Ramiro Pena* Switch .314 .659
Andruw Jones Right .780 .691
(Three-year samples used when possible)
*Career numbers because of small sample size in recent years
(Favors means the split is +/- .020 points)
Matchup favors LHP: Granderson, Rodriguez, Posada, Gardner, Pena
Matchup favors RHP: Jeter, Martin, Cervelli, Nunez, Jones
Matchup is a push: Teixeira, Cano, Swisher
Analysis after the jump…
The entire lineup for the Yankees can be categorized as one big problem. Curtis Granderson has improved versus left-handed pitching this season. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest hitters of all-time and is still plenty productive. Even the disgruntled Jorge Posada is a sleeping BABIP giant waiting for a wakeup call.
The toughest matchup for the Rays in this brief two-game set is figuring out what to do against the neutral-split batters. Switch-hitters Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher present matchup problems for the Tampa Bay staff while Robinson Cano is one of the best left-handed bats in the game who also happens to hit lefties well.
Against Teixiera, the Rays will have to attack with secondary stuff. The switch-hitting first baseman is a fastball masher, but will take his hacks against breaking balls and changeups. The same can be said for fellow switch-hitter Nick Swisher. Another good fastball hitter, Swisher, will offer at changeups and curveballs from right-handed pitchers and sliders from lefties. He also struggles with cutters which could be interesting for David Price who continues to toy with the pitch. Robinson Cano can hit changeups and curveballs which presents a problem for James Shields. In regards to Price, the kitchen sink should be available against Cano.
As the Rays turn to the bullpen, expect them to rely heavily on their trio of veteran right-handers. Joel Peralta and Kyle Farnsworth will continue to get the high-leverage calls as both have shown the ability to get batters out on both sides this season. Juan Cruz could sneak into that mix especially before the eighth inning. Because of his work versus both lefties and righties this season, Cesar Ramos might get a change to impress his manager in a tough matchup.