Sunday, April 20, 2014
Top stats to know: Orioles at Red Sox
By ESPN Stats & Information
The Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox face off on "Sunday Night Baseball" at 7 p.m. ET in a matchup of veteran pitchers. Here are some of the stats our broadcast crew will be focusing on tonight:
Ubaldo Jimenez struggling
Jimenez has had his issues against the American League East teams, no more so than the Red Sox. He is 1-3 with a 10.27 ERA in five starts against them (also 1-4 with a 6.67 ERA against the New York Yankees).
The only active pitcher who has made at least five starts with a worse ERA against the Red Sox is Rick Porcello (10.42).
Jimenez closed 2013 with an AL-best 1.82 ERA after the All-Star break, even with a fastball that has dropped nearly 6 mph over the last four seasons to its current 90.3 average.
He has been battered around a bit in his first three starts. Opponents are hitting .348 and slugging .576 against him, and his ERA/WHIP combo stands at 7.31/2.06.
Peavy off to solid start
In contrast to Jimenez, Red Sox starter Jake Peavy has a 1.93 ERA and .179 opponents’ batting average through three starts. Hitters are 12-for-67 against him this season.
Peavy appears to have made two key adjustments to his approach over the past few years: throw more strikes early and increase the frequency with which he’s pitching batters inside.
His first-pitch strike rate has climbed by year from 57.7 percent (2010) to 66.7 percent in 2013, though it’s dipped to 55.1 percent this season.
He is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Orioles, with a 23-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and zero homers allowed in 20 innings.
Red Sox situational struggles
The Red Sox are hitting .223 with runners on base and .207 with runners in scoring position, which ranked 25th and 26th in the majors entering the day.
The hitters struggling the most are a couple of the younger ones; Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts are a combined 4-for-43.
Red Sox hitter to watch: Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia is hitting .250 this season but has been better the last couple of days since getting a clean bill of health. He is 5-for-17 with four walks and five runs scored in his last four games.
Opposing pitchers have taken to pounding Pedroia with fastballs until he proves he can hurt them this season. He has seen a fastball or some variant 66 percent of the time this season, compared to 57 percent in 2013.
Orioles hitter to watch: Chris Davis
Davis hit 53 home runs for the Orioles last season but has only one in his first 16 games in 2014.
The flaw in Davis’ game has been an inability to hit pitches in the upper half of the strike zone.
Last season, Davis hit 15 home runs against pitches to that area. This season, he has only one hit against the 100 pitches he’s seen (54 against 1,071 pitches in 2013).