The Yankees improved to 4-1 (+3.1 units) against Boston this season following last night’s 9-3 win in the series opener at Fenway Park. New York now sends right-hander Michael Pineda to the mound, who is enjoying a phenomenal 2014 campaign. In fact, Pineda is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 0.88 WHIP this season, including going 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 0.91 WHIP at night and 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 0.83 WHIP on the road. However, those periphery statistics are grossly misleading for the following reasons:
- Pineda’s velocity on his fastball continues to decline, which is a significant red flag;
- Pineda’s swinging strike rate has dropped from 9% in 2011 to 5% this season’
- Pineda is the beneficiary of an unsustainable strand rate (93%) and hit rate (25%)
Pineda is 1-1 with a career 6.97 ERA and 1.45 WHIP versus the Red Sox, including a start at Fenway wherein he yielded seven earned runs on eight hits in just 4 1/3-innings of work. Let’s also note that Pineda is hampered by a struggling New York bullpen that owns a 4.61 ERA and 1.39 WHIP this season, including a 5.46 ERA and 1.47 WHIP on the road, a 5.61 ERA and 1.52 WHIP versus division opponents, a 5.23 ERA and 1.52 WHIP at night and a 6.43 ERA and 1.76 WHIP over the last seven games.
Neither team is having much success at the plate as evidenced by the following:
New York Yankees Offense:
- .271 batting average and .324 on base percentage in 2014 (4.2 runs per game)
- .262 batting average and .320 on base percentage on the road (4.5 runs per game)
- .258 batting average and .316 on base percentage versus right-handed starters (3.5 runs per game)
Boston Red Sox Offense:
- .239 batting average and .313 on base percentage in 2014 (3.8 runs per game)
- .244 batting average and .316 on base percentage at night (4.1 runs per game)
- .233 batting average and .288 on base percentage versus right-handed starters (4.3 runs per game)
The difference in tonight’s outcome could the team’s respective bullpens. As outlined above, New York relievers are extremely unreliable this season. In contrast, the Red Sox bullpen owns an impressive 2.20 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 2014, including a 1.25 ERA and 0.91 WHIP versus division opponents, a 1.79 ERA and 0.99 WHIP at night and a 1.53 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over the last seven games. Finally, tonight’s home plate umpire, Gerry Davis, is a 61.1% winning proposition for home teams over the last three seasons (4-1 this year. With Boston standing at 20-7 (+11.4 units) off two or more consecutive losses, the experts at Pro Edge Sports give a small lean to the home favorite tonight.