Sunday, April 13, 2014
Top stats to know: Red Sox at Yankees
By Katie Sharp and Justin Havens, ESPN Stats & Information
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox conclude their four-game series tonight on "Sunday Night Baseball" (8 ET on ESPN).
The Yankees took two of the first three games and are looking to win a series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium for the first time since the final weekend of the 2012 season.
Here are some key storylines heading into the game:
Panic time, Red Sox Nation?
This is the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Red Sox have had a losing record through 12 games. In each of those previous three years -- 2010, 2011, 2012 -- the Red Sox failed to make the playoffs.
The bad news: The last time the Red Sox made the playoffs after having a losing record through 12 games was 1915.
The good news: The Red Sox won the World Series in 1915.
Boston has had a difficult time replicating Jacoby Ellsbury’s production at the top of the lineup, ranking among the worst teams in both batting average and OPS by leadoff batters this season.
Another problem for the Red Sox this season has been hitting in the clutch. Boston ranks 26th in the majors in batting average with runners in scoring position, including a 2-for-21 performance in the first three games of this series.
Bronx Bombers are back
The Yankees took full advantage of the jet stream in right field at Yankee Stadium during Saturday’s 7-4 win, hitting five home runs, four of which were to either right-center or right field.
Lack of power was an issue for the Yankees to start the season, as they went homerless in their first five games and had only seven homers in their first 11 games combined before Saturday's barrage.
Alfonso Soriano is tied for the team lead with three homers, as he continues to give the Yankees their money’s worth since he rejoined the team last summer. Soriano’s 20 homers since his first game in pinstripes on July 26 lead all major league players, and his 54 RBIs in that span are second to Mark Trumbo.
The shift is on
The Yankees have made a significant change in their defensive philosophy this season, using more infield shifts than ever before.
Only one team is shifting more often than the Yankees this season, and with 79 shifts already, they are on pace to more than double their 475 shifts from last season.
The Red Sox have been more conservative with their shifting in the early going, with only 26 shifts in 12 games, and if they continue at this pace, they would finish with about 25 percent fewer defensive shifts than last season.
Nova, Doubront struggling
Both Ivan Nova and Felix Doubront are looking to bounce back from poor outings their last time out. The two pitchers combined to give up 12 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in their most recent starts on April 8.
Both pitchers had issues limiting the damage in those games, as the Rangers were 4-for-7 with men on base against Doubront while the Orioles went 7-for-9 in those situations against Nova.