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Monday, April 23, 2012
W2W4: Relievers, hot hitters for NYY, Texas

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Thanks to Mark Simon and the crew at ESPN Stats & Information for providing some interesting numbers for you to watch out for during this three-game series between the Rangers and Yankees. Here you go:

* The Rangers have looked unstoppable in winning 13 of their first 16 games. The Yankees, who have looked good since getting swept in Tampa Bay in the first series of the season, have won nine of 12.

* Mike Napoli leads the Rangers' Big 3: Texas has three hitters performing at a very high level so far: Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Napoli. We've talked a lot on this blog about Hamilton. But what about Napoli?

After a 2-for-20 start, Napoli has 12 hits and six home runs in his last 29 at-bats. He swung at better pitches this past week than he did earlier in the season, striking out less and ending more at-bats with a ball in play. Let's take a look:

First seven games: 0 HR, 60% in-zone swing percentage, 27% chase percentage, 35% strikeout percentage
Next seven games: 6 HR, 70% in-zone swing percentage, 16% chase percentage, 23% strikeout percentage

* Bullpen play has been solid for both teams. Yankee relievers have had plenty of work so far, pitching 54 2/3 innings in 15 games.

* David Robertson again has been a great. He’s pitched eight scoreless innings this season and held opponents to 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position (they were 13-for-93 against him last season in those spots).

* In 38 2/3 innings, Rangers relievers have struck out 36 batters and walked only three. Alexi Ogando has 10 strikeouts and no walks in relief this season.

* The Yankees’ bullpen has excelled at getting strikeouts, putting together a league-high 28.6 percent of all hitters they’ve faced. Yankees relievers have 65 strikeouts, only 12 fewer than the club's starters.

* The Rangers and Yankees are the top two bullpens this season in Win Probability Added, which aggregates the change in a given team’s win probability after every batter. Each bullpen has added close to two wins to its team’s win probability so far this season.

* Texas boasts the two top relievers in terms of strike percentage (minimum 30 batters faced). That's Mike Adams at 75.1 percent and Ogando at 71.5 percent.