Wednesday, May 29, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

MLB Preview: Boston Red Sox (21-14) at Philadelphia Phillies (15-19)

BOSTON RED SOX NOTES:

STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox have won a season-high 8 consecutive games, MLB’s longest active winning streak. The Sox are on their longest winning streak since 6/25-7/2/21 (8 games)…Their last winning streak of at least 9 games was from 4/5-14/21 (9). The Red Sox (21-14, .600) own the 4th-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 27-7 .794
  2. Baltimore AL East 22-11 .667
  3. Atlanta NL East 23-11 .676
  4. Boston AL East 21-14 .600
  5. Texas AL West 19-13 .594

SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in hits (331) and doubles (79), while ranking 2nd in runs (207), XBH (127), and AVG (.277), and 3rd in OPB (.345), SLG (.455), and OPS (.800). The Red Sox have recorded 10+ hits in 17 games this season, tied with TB for most in MLB…They have done so in 6 of their last 8 games.

RED SOX OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Stat MLB Rank
207 R 2nd
46 HR 5th
331 H 1st
127 XBH 2nd
19.6 SO% 2nd
Stat MLB Rank
.277 AVG 2nd
.345 OBP 3rd
.455 SLG 3rd
.800 OPS 3rd
116 wRC+ 4th

RED HOT SOX: The Red Sox are 16-6 (.727) in their last 22 games, dating back to 4/14…They own the 2nd-best record in MLB during that span (BAL: 15-5, .750). During that span, they have averaged 6.1 runs/game (136 runs), 10.3 hits/game (227 hits), and 3.8 XBH/game (54 2B, 29 HR), with an 18.7 SO% (162 SO/867 PA). Since 4/14, the Red Sox lead MLB in hits, XBH, AVG (.295), OBP (.362), and OPS (.840).

SERIES BUSINESS: Last night’s win secured the Red Sox’ 3rd consecutive series win…They improved 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 26-13 at Citizens Bank Park, having gone 10-1-4 in 15 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 292-199 (.595) all-time in Interleague play.

TEAM EFFORT: The Red Sox have an MLB-leading 15 players with at least 5 RBI, including 11 with 10+ RBI. From the 7-9 spots in the lineup, the Sox lead MLB in hits (105) and RBI (62), and rank 2nd in XBH (36). 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 14 of their 21 wins, most in MLB…They trailed by multiple runs in 7 of their 14 comeback wins, including by 4 runs on 4/15 vs. LAA and by 6 runs on 4/1 vs. BAL.

CLOSING TIME: Kenley Jansen last night recorded his 399th career save…Only 6 pitchers in MLB history have reached 400 saves, most recently Francisco Rodriguez in 2016. At 35 years, 219 days old, Kenley would become the 2nd-youngest pitcher ever to join the 400-save club (Francisco Rodriguez-34 years, 138 days).

MOST SAVES IN MLB HISTORY
Rk. Pitcher SV

  1. Mariano Rivera …..652
  2. Trevor Hoffman …..601
  3. Lee Smith …………..478
  4. Francisco Rodriguez..437
    Rk. Pitcher SV
  5. John Franco………..424
  6. Billy Wagner……….422
  7. Kenley Jansen .. 399
  8. Craig Kimbrel ……..397

PITCHING IN: Red Sox starting pitchers have tossed at least 5.0 innings in 12 consecutive games, their longest streak since May 2021 (15 games from 5/7-22). Red Sox relievers have allowed 3 ER in 23.1 innings over the last 6 games (1.16 ERA). The Sox rank 7th in MLB with a 3.33 relief ERA, after ranking 26th with a 4.59 mark in 2022. The Sox are 16-0 when leading after 6 innings.

RED SOX PITCHERS WITH A RELIEF ERA OF 2.50 OR LOWER
Pitcher Relief ERA IP ER
Kenley Jansen 0.84 10.2 1
Brennan Bernardino 1.08 8.1 1
Kutter Crawford 1.08 16.2 2
Josh Winckowski 1.57 23.0 4
Chris Martin 1.80 10.0 2
John Schreiber 2.16 16.2 4

FOREVER AND DEVERS: Rafael Devers leads MLB in RBI (34)…He leads the AL in HR (11), 1 behind Max Muncy for the MLB lead. He’s the first player record at least 11 HR and 34 RBI through the Red Sox’ first 35 games in a season since Manny Ramirez in 2001 (11 HR, 42 RBI).

MACHO MAN: Masataka Yoshida did not play last night…His 15-game hitting streak is the longest active hitting streak in MLB and 3rd longest 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……………………….T-1st
18 RBI……………………….1st
46 total bases…………….1st
Stat MLB
.433 AVG………………………1st
.478 OBP……………………..2nd
1.245 OPS …………………….1st
34 hard-hit balls…………….1st

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 tied with Randy Arozarena the 2nd longest active streak in the AL, behind Yordan Alvarez (26).

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD: The Red Sox’ outfielders lead MLB in FanGraphs’ WAR (4.7), AVG (.316), OBP (.387), SLG (.537), OPS (.924), hits (131), doubles (37), XBH (56), runs (80), and RBI (80).

DON’T START WITH US: Starting pitchers have lasted fewer than 4.0 innings in 11 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.

TODAY’S STARTER: 89 TANNER HOUCK – RHP
Is making his 1st career appearance against the Phillies…Is 2-0 with 2 SV and a 1.31 ERA (3 ER/20.2 IP) in 8 Interleague games (3 GS). The Sox have won each of his 3 career Interleague starts…In those outings, he went 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and .098 opponent AVG (5-for-51, 25 SO, 1 XBH). Allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of his first 25 career starts, before surrendering a career-high 6 ER over 6.0 IP on Tuesday vs. TOR (6 H, 3 BB, 5 SO, HR). Has pitched at least 5.0 innings in 5 of his 6 starts this season. The Red Sox have won 5 of his 6 starts, including all 4 at Fenway Park. Has an expected ERA of 4.00 (based on quality of contact and amount of contact).

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES NOTES:

GAME #34 RECAP: The Phillies fell to the Boston Red Sox, 7-4, at Citizens Bank Park … Starter Bailey Falter (L, 0-6) went 3.2 innings and allowed 5 runs on 6 hits with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts … Bryce Harper and Trea Turner each homered for the Phils as their losing streak reached six games, the longest in a single season since a seven-game skid in June of 2019.

BEDLAM AT THE BANK: Through 15 games at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies are averaging 39,215 in attendance per game which ranks 3rd among all clubs in MLB behind only the Dodgers (47,982) and Cardinals (39,668) … Of Philadelphia’s first 15 games at home, eight have been sellouts (53%) and 11 have been over 35,000 (73%).

GLOVELY: The Phillies enter today’s game with a .990 fielding percentage as a team that ranks 4th among all NL clubs and 7th in MLB – Philadelphia has committed 12 errors in 1,167 total chances which is tied for the fifth-fewest total errors by a club in MLB this year (also: NYM & SEA) … Individually, Bryson Stott has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 128 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 & TEX’s Marcus Semien), trailing only SD’s Ha-seong Kim (7 DRS) … Stott has played 79 career games at second base (73 GS) and has not made an error in 297 total chances to begin his career.

A REAL UNICORN: Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto ranks T-2nd among all MLB players this year in triples (3) and trails only teammate Brandon Marsh (4) for the major league lead … Among all active catchers in MLB, Realmuto’s 31 career triples are equal to the next three catchers behind him, combined (Salvador Perez – 11, Wilson Contreras & James McCann – 10) … Realmuto, 5-for-6 in stolen bases this year, ranks in the 90th percentile among MLB players with an average sprint speed of 28.6 feet/second – that ranks T-3rd on the Phillies (with Marsh), behind only Trea Turner (30.0 ft/sec) and Edmundo Sosa (29.4 ft/sec) … Dating back to July 20, 2021, Realmuto is 34-for-36 in stolen base attempts and his 94.4% success rate is tops among all MLB players in that span (min. 30 SB attempts).

HOMEOWNER: Over his last 162 games at Citizens Bank Park (regular and postseason combined, since 9/15/19), Bryce Harper is slashing .296/.415/.604 with a 1.019 OPS in 691 plate appearances – he has 117 runs, 42 doubles, four triples, 41 home runs, 111 RBI and 111 walks in that span (Phillies are 94-68 in those 162 – .580 win %) … 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 289 career games (regular and postseason combined) in this ballpark, Harper is slashing .282/.400/.582 (.982 OPS) in 1,229 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).

ANGEL IN THE OUTFIELD: Phillies center fielder Brandon Marsh enters today’s game slashing .323/.412/.596 with a 1.008 OPS that ranks 4th in the National League behind only ATL’s Sean Murphy (1.067), ATL’s Ronald Acuna Jr. (1.018) and MIA’s Luis Arraez (1.016) … Marsh has reached base safely in 29 of his 32 games played this season … Defensively, Marsh leads the Phillies in Outs Above Average (OAA) with 2 which ranks T-7th among all ML center fielders (also: Cody Bellinger, Dylan Carlson, Jarren Duran & Julio Rodriguez) … Since being acquired by the Phillies via trade from the Los Angeles Angels for Logan O’Hoppe at last year’s deadline, Marsh is slashing .303/.361/.515 with an .876 OPS that ranks 15th among 168 MLB players with 250+ plate appearances in that span.

SLIDER SENSATION: Phillies reliever Andrew Vasquez tossed 2.0 scoreless innings Friday 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.

TODAY’S STARTER – TAIJUAN WALKER  RHP #99
2023: 2-2, 6.91 ERA Career: 56-52, 3.98 ERA

LAST START: 5/1 at LAD: L, 3.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, 3 HR
… Walker vs Gonsolin … Last night, the Phillies fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 13-4, at Dodger Stadium in L.A. … Offensively, Kyle Schwarber homered, and J.T. Realmuto tripled as Nick Castellanos and Brandon Marsh had multi-hit efforts.

TODAY’S START:
Doing the Splits: Walker has used his splitter 32.0% of the time in 2023, by far the highest rate of his career (previous: 27.6% in 2022) … He has thrown it more often than any other pitch (111 times, next: 4-seam 127 times) and has surrendered only 1 XBH (3B) on it  From the Ground Up: Walker’s 54.2% ground ball rate is 8h highest among all NL pitchers (min. 25.0 IP)  Right the Ship: Walker has allowed 13 runs on 13 hits, including 5 HR, in 7.1 IP in his last 2 starts after posting a 3.80 ERA (9 ER, 21.1 IP) with 16 hits allowed (2 HR) over his first 4
starts of the season … It’s the first time since Sept. 2021 he has allowed 5 HR in a 2-start span  Early Trouble: 16 of the 22 runs Walker has allowed have come in innings 1-3, and all of his 7 HR

vs AL East: 6-10, 4.28 ERA (67 ER, 141.0 IP) in 27 starts

vs Interleague: 11-7, 4.03 ERA (60 ER, 134.0 IP) in 24 starts

HOME:
2023: 0-0, 7.27 ERA (7 ER, 8.2 IP) in 2 starts

Career: 24-21, 3.88 ERA (194 ER, 450.0 IP) in 82 games (80 starts)

CBP: 1-1, 5.79 ERA (21 ER, 32.2 IP) in 7 starts

2023 SEASON:
Made his season and Phillies debut on 4/3 at NYY after signing a 4-year contract with the club in December

Pitched for Team Mexico in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, making one start in Pool Play against Great Britain … He threw 4.0 scoreless IP with 2 baserunners allowed and recorded 8 of his 12 outs via strikeout

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