The New York Yankees continue to have problems with pitchers they haven’t seen before.
They’ll have to try to solve a starter they have never faced for the eighth straight game Wednesday night in Kenshin Kawakami(notes) when they play the Atlanta Braves, who have thrown consecutive shutouts for the first time in four years.
New York (38-32) has lost three straight and five of six as it closes out this eight-game stretch against unfamiliar pitchers. The Yankees were stymied in Tuesday’s opener of this three-game set as Braves rookie Tommy Hanson(notes) went 5 1-3 innings and combined with three relievers on a four-hitter in a 4-0 victory.
“It’s hard to win when you get only four hits,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re just not swinging the bats.”
Opposing starters are 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA in the last seven games against New York, which has also lost six of seven on the road. The Yankees have scored 13 runs over the last six games.
All of that should be good news for Kawakami (4-6, 4.42 ERA) as he gets his first look at the struggling Yankees lineup. The rookie right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine straight starts.
Kawakami will try to win consecutive outings for the first time after yielding two runs over six innings Friday in an 8-2 victory at Boston. He improved to 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three interleague starts.
Kawakami will have two tough acts to follow after Hanson helped pitch Atlanta (34-36) to its second straight shutout to open this 10-game homestand. Javier Vazquez(notes) and three relievers scattered 10 hits in a 2-0 win Monday over the Chicago Cubs in a makeup game.
Atlanta has posted its first consecutive shutouts since June 21-22, 2005, against Florida.
Braves opponents are hitless in their last 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position after the Yankees went 0 for 8 on Tuesday in their first visit to Turner Field since 2000.
McCann homered as part of a three-hit night and is 18 for 34 (.529) with three homers and 10 RBIs in interleague play this year.
“It was a tough day,” Posada said. “It happens. It’s baseball. You win some, you lose some. It’s simple.”
Chamberlain suffered his first loss since May 5 on Thursday against Washington when he gave up three runs over six innings in a 3-0 defeat. That was the Yankees’ first loss in the right-hander’s five interleague starts - he fell to 1-1 with a 2.22 ERA in those outings.