Friday, July 18, 2014

With only 68 games to go in the regular season, the Yankees will be back in the Bronx to start the second half of the season against the Cincinnati Reds tonight.

The Yankees enter tonight's contest with a 47-47 record, five games behind first-place Baltimore. The Reds sit at third place in the four-team race for the National League Central Division Title. Cincinnati is just 1.5 games behind the Brewers, who despite recent struggles, still hold on to first place.

The Reds entered the All Star Break as winners of seven of 10, while the Yankees are 5-5 over their last 10 games as they try to overcome the inconsistency that has plagued the Bronx Bombers in the first half of the season.

Tonight's lineup against Cincinnati:

LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
1B Mark Teixeira
 C Brian McCann
DH Carlos Beltran
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Brian Roberts
3B Kelly Johnson

Pitching matchup preview:

David Phelps will be on the mound for the Yankees against Mike Leake for the Reds. Phelps has a 3-4 record with a 3.94 ERA this season and has been especially good in July, as he has allowed just three earned runs in 13 innings pitched in the month for a 2.08 ERA. 

Leake is 7-7 in 2014 with a 3.54 ERA. In parts of the last three years, Phelps has always been there for the Yankees when they need him with a 13-13 record and a 4.05 ERA.

He's been leaned on a lot this year with 13 starts and 22 total appearances to match his appearance total for 2013. This season, however, he has allowed 86 hits in 89 innings with 76 strikeouts, 36 walks, 10 home runs allowed and a WHIP of 1.37.

Phelps' strikeouts per nine innings have gone down to 7.69 this year from a career-high 8.20 last season and his home runs allowed per nine innings have gone up from 0.83 last season to 1.01. His BABIP has gone down to .293 from a mark of .321, as he has dropped his ERA from a career-high 4.98 in 2013.

Phelps has just one career appearance against the Reds in his career. Back in 2012, he allowed one unearned run and one hit, while walking one and striking out three in two innings.


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