Thursday, April 25, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Boston Red Sox (20-14) at Philadelphia Phillies (15-18)

BOSTON RED SOX NOTES:

STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox have won a season-high 7 consecutive games, MLB’s longest active winning streak. The Sox are on their longest winning streak since 6/19-26/22 (7 games)…Their last winning streak of at least 8 games was from 6/25-7/2/21 (8 games). The Red Sox (20-14, .588) own the 5th-best record in MLB…They hold the AL’s 2nd Wild Card spot.

MLB STANDINGS
Rk. Team Division W-L Pct.

  1. Tampa Bay AL East 27-6 .818
  2. Baltimore AL East 22-10 .688
  3. Atlanta NL East 22-11 .667
  4. Pittsburgh NL Central 20-13 .606
  5. Boston AL East 20-14 .588

SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in hits (321) and doubles (75), while ranking 2nd in runs (200), XBH (122), and AVG (.273), and 3rd in OPB (.343), SLG (.457), and OPS (.800). The Red Sox have recorded 10+ hits in 16 games this season, 1 behind TB for most in MLB…They have done so in 5 of their last 7 games.

RED SOX OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Stat MLB Rank
200 R 2nd
46 HR 5th
321 H 1st
123 XBH 2nd
19.6 SO% 2nd
Stat MLB Rank
.273 AVG 2nd
.343 OBP 3rd
.457 SLG 3rd
.800 OPS 3rd
116 wRC+ 5th

RED HOT SOX: The Red Sox are 15-6 (.714) in their last 21 games, dating back to 4/14…They own the 2nd-best record in MLB during that span (BAL: 15-4, .789). During that span, they have averaged 6.1 runs/game (129 runs), 10.3 hits/game (217 hits), and 3.8 XBH/game (50 2B, 29 HR), with an 18.7 SO% (154 SO/825 PA). Since 4/14, the Red Sox lead MLB in runs, hits, XBH, AVG (.295), OBP (.361), and OPS (.843).

SERIES BUSINESS: With a win today or tomorrow, the Red Sox would win their 3rd-straight series and improve to 8-3-0 in series play, including 6-1-0 in their last 7. Last year, the Sox went 2-7-2 in their first 11 series and did not earn their 8th series win until 6/12 (began 7-8-3).

SOX & PHILS: The Red Sox and Phillies are playing their 1st series since 7/9-11/21 at Fenway Park (2-1 PHI win), and 1st series at Citizens Bank Park since 5/21-23/21 (2-1 BOS win). The Red Sox are 25-13 at Citizens Bank Park, having gone 9-1-4 in 14 series at the venue.

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: The Red Sox will face National League opponents in 6 of their 8 series (17 of 23 games) from 5/5-6/1, including this series and their next 2 (at ATL, vs. STL). The most games the Red Sox have ever played against NL opponents in a single calendar month is 10 (September 2020). The Red Sox are an MLB-best 291-199 (.594) all-time in Interleague play.

TEAM EFFORT: The Red Sox have an MLB-leading 15 players with at least 5 RBI, including 10 with 10+ RBI. From the 7-9 spots in the lineup, the Sox lead MLB in hits (101) and RBI (tied, 59), and rank 2nd in XBH (35). 5 different players have recorded a go-ahead RBI in the 8th inning or later for the Sox: Alex Verdugo (3x, last 5/1 vs. TOR), Adam Duvall (4/1 vs. BAL), Yu Chang (4/15 vs. LAA), Masataka Yoshida (4/23 at MIL), and Connor Wong (5/2 vs. TOR).

COMEBACK KIDS: The Red Sox have come from behind in 13 of their 20 wins, most in MLB…They trailed by multiple runs in 7 of their 13 comeback wins, including by 4 runs on 4/15 vs. LAA and by 6 runs on 4/1 vs. BAL.

MACHO MAN: Masataka Yoshida singled in the 3rd inning last night to extend his current hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active hitting streak in MLB and 3rd longest in MLB this season (Mauricio Dubón-20 games, Bryson Stott-17). During his streak, Yoshida is batting .433 with a
1.245 OPS, 9.0 SO%, 14 runs scored and 18 RBI (26-for-60, 5 2B, 5 HR, 5 BB, 6 SO, HBP, SF). He’s the 6th player born in Japan record a hitting streak of 15+ games, joining Ichiro Suzuki (16x), Hideki Matsui (3x), Nori Aoki (2x), Shohei Ohtani, and So Taguchi.

YOSHIDA’S MLB RANKINGS, 4/20-PRESENT
Stat MLB
26 H………………………….1st
14 R………………………….1st
18 RBI……………………….1st
46 total bases…………….1st
Stat MLB
.433 AVG………………………1st
.478 OBP………………………1st
1.245 OPS …………………….1st
34 hard-hit balls…………….1st

PITCHING IN: Red Sox starting pitchers have tossed at least 5.0 innings in 11 consecutive games, their longest streak since May 2021 (15 games from 5/7-22). Red Sox relievers have allowed 2 ER in 19.1 innings over the last 6 games (0.93 ERA). Kenley Jansen last night recorded his 398th career save, breaking a tie with PHI’s Craig Kimbrel for most among active pitchers and 7th most in MLB history. The Red Sox have 6 relievers with an ERA of 2.50 or lower, tied with LAA and TB for most in MLB (min. 5.0 IP).

RED SOX PITCHERS WITH A RELIEF ERA OF 2.50 OR LOWER
Pitcher Relief ERA IP ER
Brennan Bernardino 0.00 7.0 0
Kenley Jansen 0.93 9.2 1
Kutter Crawford 1.08 16.2 2
Josh Winckowski 1.61 22.1 4
Chris Martin 1.80 10.0 2
John Schreiber 2.30 15.2 4

FOREVER AND DEVERS: Rafael Devers is tied for the MLB lead in RBI (32)…He leads the AL in HR (11), 1 behind Max Muncy for the MLB lead.
Devers hit his 150th career HR on Thursday vs. TOR. He’s the 3rd-fastest Red Sox player to reach 150 HR, by games played (721; Ted Williams-664; Jim Rice-711).

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD: The Red Sox’ outfielders lead MLB in FanGraphs’ WAR (4.7), AVG (.319), OBP (.386), SLG (.543), OPS (.929), hits (129), doubles (36), XBH (55), runs (79), and RBI (80). In 2022, the only categories the Sox’ outfielders ranked higher than 10th in were hits (7th) and XBH (T-8th).

BOSTON BACKSTOPS: The Red Sox lead MLB in hits (36) by catchers and rank 2nd in AVG (.305). In his last 12 games, Connor Wong is batting .359 (14- for-39) with 3 doubles, 3 HR, 8 runs scored, and 8 RBI. Reese McGuire leads catchers in AVG (.340; min 50 PA).

ROOKIE BALL: The Red Sox have 2 rookies with active on-base streaks of 15+ games (Casas and Yoshida)…This is just the 2nd time in club history the Red Sox have concurrent on-base streaks of 15+ games by rookies…Jacoby Ellsbury (26 games) and Dustin Pedroia (19) did so in 2007 (source: Elias). Triston Casas’ 17 game on-base streak is the 2nd longest in the AL, trailing only Yordan Alvarez (26).

DON’T START WITH US: Starting pitchers have lasted fewer than 4.0 innings in 10 starts vs. BOS this season, most in MLB…Starting pitchers have completed at least 6.0 innings against the Red Sox just 4 times this season, fewest of any team in MLB. HELP IS ON THE WAY: James Paxton made a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester last night vs. Buffalo, allowing 2 runs over 5.1 IP (2 H, 5 BB, 4 SO, 96 pitches).

TONIGHT’S STARTER: 28 COREY KLUBER – RHP
W-L ERA G GS IP ER HR BB SO WHIP AVG
2023 1-4 6.44 6 6 29.1 21 8 12 27 1.40 .248
CAREER 114-75 3.37 262 257 1616.0 605 168 359 1710 1.12 .238

The Sox have won each of his last 2 starts (3.18 ERA, 4 ER/11.1 IP), after they lost each of his first 4 (8.50 ERA, 17 ER/18.0 IP). Has thrown 5.0+ innings in each of his last 3 starts, after doing so in only 1 of his first 3. Allowed 3 runs over 5.1 IP on Monday vs. TOR…Retired 11 of his last 14 batters faced. In 2 road starts, has struck out 10 batters and walked only 1 (10.2 IP). Has faced the Phillies twice, both in Philadelphia: 5/15/13 (W, 6.0 IP, 3 ER) and 4/29/16 (ND, 7.0 IP, 2 ER)…Totaled 11 SO and 0 BB in those 2 starts. In 33 Interleague outings (all starts), is 16-10 with a 3.00 ERA (68 ER/203.2 IP)… Among the 97 pitchers to throw 200.0+ Interleague innings, he ranks 8th in ERA.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES NOTES:

• GAME #33 RECAP: The Phillies fell to the Boston Red Sox, 5-3, at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly… Starter Zack Wheeler (L, 3-2) went 5.1 innings and allowed 5 runs (4 ER) on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts and 0 walks … Down 3-0 in the 4th, the Phillies rallied to tie the game with 3 runs and 4 hits in the inning … The Red Sox scored 2 runs in the 6th to take a 5-3 lead and held on for the win … Connor Brogdon, Gregory Soto
and Andrew Vasquez made scoreless appearances in relief of Wheeler.

• BEDLAM AT THE BANK: Through 14 games at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies are averaging 38,886 in attendance per game which ranks 3rd among all clubs in MLB behind only the Dodgers (47,982) and Cardinals (39,678) … Of Philadelphia’s first 14 games at home, seven have been sellouts (50%) and 10 have been over 35,000 (71%).

• BULLISH ON THE PEN: The Phillies bullpen enters tonight’s game with an active 14.1-inning scoreless streak at home (since 8th inn. on 4/25) … During the streak, they have faced 52 batters with 17 strikeouts to only three walks and five hits … The bullpen has not allowed a home run at home to each of the last 125 hitters they have faced entering play tonight (last: 4/12 vs MIA, Soler off Alvarado).

• THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE: There are currently 33 active players in MLB who have at least 1,000 career plate appearances batting 1st … Of those 33, Kyle Schwarber ranks 2nd in pitches per plate appearance at 4.21, trailing only Matt Carpenter (4.28) … Schwarber also has a .513 career SLG in the leadoff spot which ranks 4th among those 33, behind only Ronald Acuna Jr. (.532), Mookie Betts (.532) and Francisco Lindor (.515) … Last year, Schwarber hit leadoff in 123 games for the Phillies as they went 69-54 when he batted 1st (.561 win %) – in the 39 games someone besides Schwarber hit leadoff, the Phillies went 18-21 (.462 win %).

• GLOVELY: The Phillies enter tonight’s game with a .989 fielding percentage as a team that ranks 4th among all NL clubs and 7th in MLB – Philadelphia has committed 12 errors in 1,132 total chances which is tied for the sixth-fewest total errors by a club in MLB this year with the Mets … Individually, Bryson Stott has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 125 total chances at second base … Stott leads the Phillies this season with 5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and ranks T-2nd among all MLB second basemen (also: CLE’s Andres Gimenez), trailing only SD’s Ha-seong Kim (6 DRS) … Stott has played 78 career games at second base (72 GS) and has not made an error in 294 total chances to begin his career.

• BRYCE’S RETURN TO CBP: Last night, Bryce Harper took the field at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since Game 5 of the 2022 World Series against the Astros on November 3, 2022 (183 days prior) … It was his first regular season game at CBP since September 25, 2022, vs Atlanta (222 days prior) … Over his last 162 games in this ballpark (regular and postseason combined, since 9/14/19), Harper is slashing .295/.416/.599 with a 1.015 OPS in 690 plate appearances – he has 117 runs, 42 doubles, four triples, 40 home runs, 110 RBI and 112 walks in that span … Last postseason, in eight games at CBP, Harper slashed .379/.455/.931 with a 1.386 OPS as the Phillies went 6-2 at home (.750 win %) … In 288 career games (regular and postseason combined) in this ballpark, Harper is slashing .281/.400/.580 (.980 OPS) in 1,224 plate appearances (since 5/21/12).

• HARP ON IT: In his second game back from Tommy John surgery, Bryce Harper reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances on Wednesday against the Dodgers in L.A. (3-3, 2B, 2 BB) … It marked the 10th time in his Phillies career that he reached base safely at least five times in a single game … Among all players in MLB since 2019, Harper’s 10 games of reaching base safely five or more times ranks 1st, in front of Juan Soto, Carlos Santana, Cedric Mullins and Manny Machado who are all T-2nd with six such games … For his career, Harper has 20 such games – other notable players that had exactly 20 career games of reaching base safely five-plus times include Hall-of-Famers Mike Schmidt, Willie Mays, Lou Brock, Craig Biggio, Minnie Minoso and Earl Averill.

• HERE COMES THE CAVALRY: The Phillies reinstated Bryce Harper from the 10-day injured list prior to Tuesday night’s against the Los Angeles Dodgers … Harper, who underwent UCL reconstruction/repair with ulnar nerve transposition on his right elbow on Nov. 23, 2022, in Los Angeles, Calif., performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, returned to the Phillies 160 days after the procedure … Last season, Harper was selected as a National League All-Star for the seventh time in his career … A two-time National League Most Valuable Player (2015; 2021), Harper was named the 2022 National League Championship Series MVP after slashing .400/.400/.850 with five extra-base hits (2 HR, 3 2B) and five RBI in five games … He hit the game-winning home run in Game 5 of the NLCS on Oct. 23, 2022, against San Diego, and overall, had four game-winning home runs which was the most ever by any player during a single postseason … His 1.160 OPS last postseason ranks fifth in major league history for a single postseason (min. 70 PA), behind only Barry Bonds in 2002 (1.559), Randy Arozarena in 2020 (1.273), David Freese in 2011 (1.258) and Corey Seager in 2020 (1.171).

• SLIDER SENSATION: Phillies reliever Andrew Vasquez tossed 2.0 scoreless innings last night to lower his season ERA to 1.69 (3 ER, 16.0 IP) over 10 appearances … Vasquez is throwing his slider 84.7% of the time (216 of 255 total pitches) and opponents are hitting only .200 with a .280 SLG against it.

• CASTY’S BACK, TELL A FRIEND: Phils right fielder Nick Castellanos has gotten ahead 1-0 in 44 plate appearances this season – after taking ball one, Castellanos is slashing .462/.523/.744 with a 1.266 OPS and seven extra-base hits – his .462 AVG after 1-0 ranks 4th in MLB, his .523 OBP is 14th, his .744 SLG ranks 12th and his 1.266 OPS ranks 8th … Last season, Castellanos ranked 201st out of 203 qualified hitters in MLB with a .575 OPS after getting ahead 1-0 – in 174 plate appearances after 1-0, he slashed .197/.276/.299 with 10 extra-base hits.

TONIGHT’S STARTER – BAILEY FALTER • LHP #70
2023: 0-5, 5.01 ERA Career: 8-10, 4.39 ERA

LAST START: 4/30 at HOU: L, 4.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, HR
… Falter vs Urquidy … The Phillies fell to the Houston Astros, 4-3, on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in Houston … J.T. Realmuto and Kody Clemens both homered for the Phils as Connor Brogdon, Gregory Soto and Luis Ortiz made scoreless appearances in relief of Falter.

TONIGHT’S START:
• Walk it Out: Falter has not issued a free pass in 9 of his last 14 starts since 8/26/22, walking 11 total batters in that span … Since 8/26/22, he has a 3.8 % walk rate which leads all ML pitchers with at least 200 batters faced … Falter has walked 23 career batters in 23 career starts, including 1 or 0 in 16 of those 23 … He has a 5.0% career walk rate in his 23 starts

• American Classic: Falter, including tonight, will have made each of his last 4 starts, and 6 of his last 8 dating back to last year, against AL teams … Per Elias, Falter is only the 4th Phillie to ever make 4 straight starts against an AL opponent, joining Jamie Moyer in 2010, Jon Lieber in 2005 and Randy Wolf in 2002

• Drastic Switch: Falter has used his 4-seam fastball 52.8% of the time this season and his sinker 4.4% … Only 2 years ago, he used his sinker 62.0% of the time and his 4-seam 6.2% … Last year, he used both almost equally – 33.1% for the sinker and 31.2% for the 4-seam

• Home Cooking: Falter has posted a 3.27 ERA (4 ER, 11.0 IP) and has not walked a batter while striking out 9 in his 2 starts at CBP this season

• vs AL East: 1-0, 0.00 ERA (3.0 IP) in 2 relief appearances

• vs Interleague: 1-5, 4.01 ERA (15 ER, 33.2 IP) in 9 games (6 starts)

HOME:
• 2023: 0-1, 3.27 ERA (4 ER, 11.0 IP) in 2 starts

• Career: 3-5, 4.80 ERA (32 ER, 60.0 IP) in 22 games (9 starts)

2023 SEASON:
• Tossed a career-high 7.0 IP on 4/18 at CWS

• Walked 4 batters in a span of 10 starts, 8/26/22-4/8/23, becoming the 5th different Phillie since at least 1901 to walk 4 or fewer in a 10-start span

• Made his second career and consecutive Opening Day roster

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