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Relievers figure to be busy on Sunday Night Baseball

5/3/2015

Adam Warren and Joe Kelly are the scheduled starters, but if Sunday’s New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game holds true to form, relief pitchers might be equally important.

Here are some of the statistical storylines the broadcast crew of Dan Shulman, Curt Schilling and John Kruk will likely be talking about on Sunday Night Baseball, starting at 8 ET on ESPN and WatchESPN.

Bullpens have been busy

The Red Sox and Yankees are tied for second in the majors in innings pitched by their bullpens this season with 87 2/3 each.

Both teams are on pace for more than 590 innings from their relievers, which would put them close to a rarely broken milestone. The 600-inning barrier has been broken twice in major league history (by the Colorado Rockies in 2012 with 657 and the Texas Rangers in 2003 with 601 1/3).

Dellin Betances has recorded 44 outs in the seventh inning or later, the most in the American League among relievers. Teammate Andrew Miller is tied for fifth with 37, giving them by far the most combined outs by bullpen teammates in the seventh inning or later this season (and teammate Esmil Rogers is tied for 10th with 36).

Ellsbury, Gardner getting on

The Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury has reached base 42 times from the leadoff spot (third in baseball), and Brett Gardner has reached base 29 times out of the No. 2 spot in the order (tied for sixth in baseball).

Their combined 71 times on base batting first and second rank third second among any duo on any team, behind Boston’s Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia (72).

Another mark for A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez hit his sixth home run of the season Friday -- the 660th of his career -- the most he has had on May 1 of any season since 2007, when he had 14 by April 23. He won the MVP award that season.

Joe Kelly and his fastball

Joe Kelly throws 48 percent of his fastballs down in the zone, the sixth-highest percentage among starting pitchers this season.

On 0-2 and 1-2 pitches, however, 49 percent of his fastballs are in the vertical middle of the strike zone (the 2-5-8 column on your phone dial), the highest percentage of any starter who has thrown 15 or more such pitches.

Red Sox starters have allowed at least six earned runs in a game five times this season, tied with the Tigers and Rockies for most in the majors.

Red Sox pitchers have the second-lowest first-pitch strike percentage in the majors, and their starters are seventh worst.