Two surefire ways to get Carson Cistulli’s blood pumping: 1) Insult the bear sweater; 2) Suggest Colby Lewis might have a bad start. Neither is unexpected, mind you, since the fleece is fantastic and Cistulli has spat more bars about Lewis over the last seven months than a reverse alcoholic. Nevertheless, Lewis will get the call against the Yankees on Saturday, and it might not go over too well in Cistulli’s heart.
To start with the obvious: the Yankees score runs. Pinstripes never fade and the Yankees rarely make outs, as they led the league in team on-base percentage and runs per game. Those numbers are not adjusted for park or completion and neither is the following factoid, which is that the Yankees had the best OPS against flyball pitchers in the league by more than .020 points.
Robinson Cano is ferocious against pitchers who get most of their outs through the skies, with a seasonal .213/.387/.571 line, marking the second consecutive season he’s posted an OPS over .900 against the flyballing family. Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thames (who does not figure to be in the lineup versus Lewis), Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher all posted OPS over. 850 versus flyball pitchers this season too. Even Derek Jeter got into the act of making baseballs chase airplanes, which isn’t too surprising given his status as a supreme groundball hitter.
This is all bad news for Lewis because he’s sort of a flyball pitcher. Not for his career (1.01 GB/FB and 38.7% FB) but over his last 230 or so innings pitched his flyball rate has sat around 44-46%. Lewis is probably a bit better than the typical flyball pitcher the Yankees have faced. Besides, anything can happen in a single game or short series. In more direct terms: a Yankee-thumping is not guaranteed.
One thing Lewis could benefit from is not seeing the Yankees this season. Of course, it’s not like the Yankees are in the dark about what Lewis throws or where he throws it, they just don’t hold the password to Lewis’ home alarm system like a certain Mr. Cistulli.