The star power will be out in full force as the New York Yankees host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Sunday Night Baseball. That starts on the pitchers mound, as the Yankees will start rookie ace Masahiro Tanaka.
Let’s take a look at some of the statistical storylines our broadcast crew will be following.
Trout and Pujols may not be the biggest concern
The biggest Yankees-killer among the Angels hitters is not one of their big-time stars, but second baseman Howie Kendrick.
Highest BA vs Yankees
Active Players, Minimum 150 PA
Kendrick is hitting .351 in 211 career at-bats against the Yankees, including a 20 for 47 stretch over the last three seasons.
The only active player with at least 150 plate appearances and a better batting average is Miguel Cabrera, .373.
Kendrick has swung a hot bat recently regardless of opponent. He’s 17 for 44 (.386) with a pair of opposite-field home runs over his last 10 games.
What to Watch for from Tanaka: First Time Through
Buster Olney walked you through the Tanaka-Mike Trout matchup, as it relates to Trout’s issues with splitters (hitters chase the Tanaka splitter 61 percent of the time).
One other thing to keep an eye on is how long it takes Tanaka to get going.
Opponents are hitting .306 with an .852 OPS the first time through the order against Tanaka, but only .151 with a .436 OPS the rest of the game.
Worth noting along those lines: Trout is hitting .455 with five homers in the first inning of games this season. His only other homer this season came in the ninth inning.
What to Watch for from Richard: Two-Strike Success
Garrett Richards is facing the team against whom he made his major league debut a few seasons ago, but he’s come a good ways since then. Richards has a 2.52 ERA in four starts this season. In two of those games, he pitched at least six innings and allowed one hit.
Opponents are hitting .155 against Richards this season. They are 2 for 41 against him in two-strike situations.
Richards’ premier two-strike pitch of choice is a slider that drops below the knees, against which opponents are 0 for 15 (with two walks).
Derek Jeter is 3 for 6 in this series and carries a note of distinction into tonight’s game. His current 15-game hitting streak against the Angels is his longest active one versus any opponent.
His career-long hitting streak against the Angels is 16 games, from 1998 to 2000. His longest hitting streak versus any team is a 25-gamer against the Tigers from 1999 to 2001.
Jeter’s next run scored will be the 1,882nd of his career, matching Hall-of-Famer Tris Speaker for 11th-most all-time.
Watch the Shift
The Yankees have had 149 shifts against batted balls in play this season, which ranks second-most in baseball entering Sunday, behind only the Astros (243) and well ahead of the third-place Indians, 102.
He’s hitting .250 when hitting a ground ball or short line drive against the shift this season. That’s considerably better than Ibanez who has hit 25 grounders and short liners against shifts this season, but has only two base hits.