1:40 pm Aug. 22, 2012
Tuesday night's 7-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox must have felt awfully familiar to the New York Yankees.
The difference in the game was a grand slam by Kevin Youkilis.
Youkilis, who until recently played for the Red Sox, has a career .873 O.P.S.. Against the Yankees in his career, the mark is .910.
That's more impressive than the raw difference would indicate, since the Yankees, throughout Youkilis' career, have had better than league-average pitching. So putting up those numbers against the Yankees required more skill than doing so against, say, the Kansas City Royals over that time.
But not only had Youkilis slumped for the 2012 season, playing for a manager in Boston who had publicly questioned his effort, his play against the Yankees dropped dramatically as well. His O.P.S. was just .692, easily a career-low, at the time the Red Sox traded him to Chicago. Against the Yankees, it was .451 over seven games.
Tuesday night's grand slam was a return to form. With the White Sox, Youkilis has been essentially the same player he was for Boston through 2011, with an .835 O.P.S. And now he's back to hitting the Yankees inordinately hard.
The Yankees face Youkilis and the White Sox just once more before the end of the regular season, Wednesday night. (If he still played for the Red Sox, the Yankees would have six more games against him between now and the end of the regular season.)
But the White Sox currently lead the American League Central by two games; there's every chance the Yankees will see Youkilis and the White Sox again in October.