The Yankees look to split Cleveland with a split tonight following the match-up of lefties Randy Johnson and Cliff Lee. The Yankees took Lee deep three times at the Stadium in mid-June (Melky's first career tater plus dingers by Alex and Bernie), but all three were solo shots as Lee allowed just two other hits and one walk over 6 2/3 to pick up an 8-4 win. Johnson did even better against the Tribe the night before, holding them to one run on four hits and no free passes before getting tossed for coming inside to since-departed Unit-killer Eduardo Perez in the top of the seventh. After looking sharp in that outing and the two that followed it, Johnson got roughed up in his last start against the Mets, though it's worth noting that even in that ugly eight-run outing he only allowed one dinger and struck out seven in six innings. Lee, meanwhile, has been solid of late, posting a 3.09 ERA in June and winning his last five decisions, thanks in part to an average of 8 2/3 runs worth of support across his last six starts.
With Robinson Cano on the DL and Johnny Damon out tonight due to an abdominal strain, the Yankees would seem to be a better offensive team against lefties right now given these numbers against the wrong-handed:
But while facing a lefty makes two of the team's best hitters better and their two biggest liabilities productive, it has the opposite effect on the rest of the line-up. Andy Phillips has surprisingly struggled against lefties this year, Jorge has a .407 OBP against them, but curiously loses his power when batting righthanded, Melky has also been a weaker hitter from the right side, the Yankees don't have non-left-handed replacement for Damon (paging Kevin Thompson!), and their lone remaining lefty, Jason Giambi, is, of course, a lesser hitter against his own kind (though in Giambi's case "lesser" means a .371 OBP and .500 SLG).