Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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MLB Preview: Boston Red Sox (21-16) at Atlanta Braves (25-11)

BOSTON RED SOX NOTES:

STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox (21-16, .568) hold the AL’s 3rd Wild Card position…They own the 5th-best record in the AL, tied for 7th best in MLB. The Sox have lost back-to-back games following a season-long 8-game winning streak, their longest winning streak since 6/25-7/2/21 (also 8 games). They have been held to 4 total runs on 13 hits over the last 2 games, after scoring 5+ runs on 8+ hits in all 8 games of their winning streak from 4/29-5/6. The Red Sox haven’t lost 3 consecutive games since 4/10-13 (season-high 4-game losing streak).

A.L. WILD CARD STANDINGS
Rk. Team W-L Pct. GB

  1. Baltimore 23-13 .639 +2.5
  2. Toronto 21-15 .583 +0.5
  3. Boston 21-16 .568 –

RED HOT SOX: The Red Sox are 16-8 (.696) in their last 24 games, beginning 4/14…They are tied with TB for the 3rd-best record in MLB in that span, behind ATL and BAL (both 16-7). During that span, they have averaged 5.8 runs/game (140 runs) on 10.0 hits/game (240 hits).
Since 4/14, the Red Sox lead MLB in hits, AVG (.288), and OBP (.354).

SERIES BUSINESS: With a win tonight, the Red Sox would remain undefeated in their last 4 series (2-1 vs. CLE, 4-0 vs. TOR, 2-1 vs. PHI, 0-1 vs. ATL). With a loss tonight, the Red Sox would fall to 3-3-0 in road series, compared to 5-1-0 at home. The Sox have been swept twice this season: 4/3-5 vs. PIT (3 games) and 4/10-13 at TB (4 games).

SLUGGING SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in doubles (82) and are tied with TB for the lead in hits (344)…They rank 3rd in runs (211), AVG (.270), OPB (.340), SLG (.450), and OPS (.790). The Red Sox have scored 5+ runs in 22 games, tied with LAD and TB for most in MLB. The Sox have recorded 10+ hits in 17 games this season, 1 behind TB for most in MLB.

RED SOX OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Stat MLB Rank
211 R 3rd
48 HR T-6th
344 H T-1st
132 XBH 3rd
20.1 SO% 3rd
Stat MLB Rank
.270 AVG 3rd
.340 OBP 3rd
.450 SLG 3rd
.790 OPS 3rd
114 wRC+ 4th

PITCHING IN: Prior to last night, Red Sox starting pitchers tossed at least 5.0 innings in 13 consecutive games, their longest streak since May 2021 (15 games from 5/7-22). The Sox rank 8th in MLB in relief ERA (3.49; 2022: 4.59). The Sox are 16-0 when leading after 6 innings.6 of the 10 pitchers to appear in relief for BOS own a relief ERA below 2.50, tied with TB for most in MLB (min. 5.0 IP).

RED SOX PITCHERS WITH A RELIEF ERA BELOW 2.50
Pitcher Relief ERA IP ER
Kenley Jansen 0.84 10.2 1
Kutter Crawford 1.08 16.2 2
Josh Winckowski 1.57 23.0 4
Chris Martin 1.80 10.0 2
Brennan Bernardino 1.93 9.1 2
John Schreiber 2.16 16.2 4

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 (107) and RBI (tied, 62), and rank 2nd in XBH (37).

RUNNIN’ RED SOX: The Red Sox lead MLB in SB% (92.3%, 24-for-26), after ranking 22nd in 2022 (72.2%). They have been successful in 14 of their last 15 attempts.

SOX & BRAVES: The Red Sox have lost each of their last 2 games at Truist Park after winning 8 of their first 9 games at the venue…The Sox are 3-0-1 in 4 series at Truist Park The Red Sox are an MLB-best 292-201 (.592) all-time in Interleague play…They’re in a stretch during which 17 of their 23 games from 5/5-6/1 are against NL teams.

CLOSING TIME: Kenley Jansen recorded his 399th career save Saturday at PHI…Only 6 pitchers in MLB history have reached 400 saves, most recently Francisco Rodriguez in 2016. At 35 years, 222 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

VERDUGOREDSOX: Alex Verdugo tied a season high with 3 hits last night (3rd time, previous: 4/18 vs. MIN). Verdugo ranks in the AL’s top 10 in hits (T-2nd, 45), multi-hit games (T-2nd, 14), runs (T-3rd, 28), doubles (T-5th, 11), AVG (7th, .317), and total bases (7th, 73).

MACHO MAN: Masataka Yoshida last night snapped a 16- game hitting streak, over which he posted a .438 AVG, 1.229 OPS, and 8.5 SO% while scoring 14 runs and recording 18 RBI (28-for-64, 5 2B, 5 HR, 5 BB, 6 SO, HBP, SF). He entered yesterday with the longest active hitting streak in MLB and 3rd longest this season (Mauricio Dubón-20 games, Bryson Stott-17). Yoshida was named AL Player of the Week for 5/1-7, posting a .480 AVG, .800 SLG, and 1.319 OPS.

YOSHIDA’S MLB RANKINGS, 4/20-PRESENT
Stat MLB
28 H………………………1st
14 R……………………… T-7th
18 RBI…………………T-1st
48 total bases………….. 2nd
Stat MLB
.406 AVG…………………..1st
.447 OBP…………………….. 4th
1.143 OPS ………………….. 2nd
35 hard-hit balls……….1st

ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD: The Red Sox’ outfielders lead MLB in AVG (.309), OBP (.377), SLG (.521), OPS (.898), hits (136), doubles (38), XBH (57), runs (81), and RBI (80).

DON’T START WITH US: Starting pitchers have completed at least 6.0 innings in consecutive games vs. BOS for the 1st time this season…They Sox have had just 6 starts of 6.0+ IP against them this season, fewest of any team in MLB. Starters have lasted fewer than 4.0 innings in 11 starts vs. BOS this season, most in MLB…Only LAD (8) and LAA (7) have more than 6 such starts against them. Starting pitchers are 12-13 with a 6.07 ERA vs. BOS.

SOX SPLITS: The Red Sox lead MLB with a .276 AVG against RHP…They rank 2nd in OBP (.341), SLG (.469) and OPS (.811). They rank 2nd in the AL with 36 HR vs. RHP. Right-handed starting pitchers have a 5.92 ERA vs. BOS. Against LHP, the Sox rank 2nd in the AL in hits (106), XBH (41), and walks (43). Left-handed starters have a 6.36 ERA against the Sox.

SOX SWINGS: The Red Sox have swung and missed at just 0.42 pitches per plate appearance, lowest in the AL and 3rd lowest in MLB (ARI-0.40, CHC, 0.41). The Sox’ 23.4% Whiff rate (599 swings and misses) is 2nd lowest in the AL and 4th lowest in MLB. The Sox have had 5,590 pitches thrown to them this season, most in the AL and 3rd most in MLB behind the Cubs (5,702) and Dodgers (5,683).

TONIGHT’S STARTER: 66 BRAYAN BELLO – RHP
Is making his 1st career appearance vs. the Braves. Has allowed 3 ER over 10.0 IP in his last 2 starts (2.70 ERA), after giving up 8 ER over 7.1 IP in his first 2 (9.82 ERA). Has issued 2 BB or fewer in each of his last 8 starts since 9/14/22 (38 SO, 13 BB), after walking 3+ batters in 5 of his first 9 outings (36 SO, 20 BB). In his MLB career, opponents are 13-for-75 (.173) with 12 singles and 1 double against his changeup (4-for-18 with 9 SO in 2023). Only 4 of the 56 batted balls against him in 2023 have been barrelled (7.1%).

ATLANTA BRAVES NOTES:

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Red Sox tonight conclude a two-game series with the second of four games between the clubs this season…Atlanta will travel to Boston for a pair of games, July 25-26.

• Atlanta scored four times in the first inning last night and never trailed, beating Boston, 9-3.

• The Braves and Red Sox have met in each of the last three seasons, with Atlanta going 8-6 against Boston in 14 total games from 2020-2022…In four games last year, Atlanta went 3-1.

• Boston went 1-1 against Atlanta here at Truist Park last season…The Braves are just 3-8 versus the Red Sox at Truist Park since the facility opened in 2017, including losses in five of their last seven…Boston’s .727 winning percentage here ranks third among visiting teams with at least five games.

• Since the advent of Interleague Play in 1997, Atlanta has played Boston far more than any other American League team…The two clubs have met 86 times prior to this season…The Braves have not played any other A.L. team more than 61 times (Toronto).

• LH Dylan Lee opens tonight for Atlanta, the first regular-season start of his career…The 6-foot-4, 210-pound left-hander has one career start in the postseason, opening Game 4 of the 2021 World Series against Houston…Lee has 17 appearances in relief this season, going 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA (5 ER/16.0 IP) and is 6-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 65 total career games, all with the Braves.

• RH Brayan Bello has never faced the Braves, and is set for just the 16th start and 18th game of his career…He has never pitched against a member of Atlanta’s active roster…The 6-foot-1, 170-pound native of Samana, Dominican Republic, has made four starts for Boston this season, going 1-1 with a 5.71 ERA (11 ER/17.1 IP).

WIN: Atlanta ran its winning streak to three straight games with a win over Boston, 9-3, last night…Sean Murphy and Orlando Arcia each had three-hit games for the Braves.

• The Braves have won each of their last three home games, defeating Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday before last night’s win over Boston… The wins match their longest winning streak at Truist Park this season, done twice previously: April 10-12 vs. Cincinnati and April 24-26 vs. Miami.

• Atlanta has not won four straight home games since a run of 10 consecutive wins here, August 31 to September 20 of last season.

• The Braves improved to 6-4 in interleague play with the win, and are in the middle of 14 consecutive games against the American League…
The Braves went 13-7 (.650) against the A.L. last season, tied for the third-best interleague record in the majors…Only the Brewers and Dodgers, both at 15-5 (.750), were better.

FIRST INNING: The Braves took a 4-0 lead in the first inning yesterday, as each of the first four batters reached and came around to score…Atlanta has scored at least one first-inning run in 16 games this season, tied with Tampa Bay for the third-most such games in MLB.

• Only the Dodgers and Cardinals have scored more often in the first inning, doing so in 17 different games…Last night was the third time this season Atlanta has scored at least four first-inning runs, the most such occasions in the National League.

• The Braves own a 14-2 record when scoring in the first inning, the best such record in the National League.

• Atlanta’s 32 first-inning runs are most in the N.L., and trail just the Rays (34) for most in the majors.

• 1B Matt Olson has homered in the first inning in each of the last two games, and his five first-inning homers for the season are the most in baseball… Teammate Austin Riley ranks second with four.

• Ronald Acuña Jr. is batting .515/.556/.788 in the first inning, and he leads the majors in first-inning hits (17), doubles (6), runs (11, tied), stolen bases (7) and total bases (26).

SEAN MURPHY: The reigning N.L. Player of the Week went 3-for-4 with four RBI last night, reaching base four times in total…He now has six career games with at least four RBI, and four of them have come this season.

• His 32 RBI pace the National League and are fourth-most in MLB this season, trailing Texas’ Adolis Garcia (36), Boston’s Rafael Devers (34) and Houston’s Yordan Alvarez (33).

• His 32 RBI are tied for the most by an Atlanta-era (since 1966) Braves player in their first 32 games with the club, alongside Austin Riley (2019) and Mark Teixeira (2007).

• Earl Torgeson holds the franchise record, dating to when RBI became official in 1920, with 33 RBI through his first 32 games with the club in 1947.

• Murphy is on pace for 144 RBI on the season… Eddie Mathews holds the current franchise record since that 1920 season with 135 RBI, set in 1953… The current record for a Braves catcher is 109 RBI, first set by Joe Torre in 1964 and matched by Javy López in 2003.

ORLANDO ARCIA: Went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI yesterday, and has hit safely in each of the two games he has played since returning from the injured list on Sunday.

• In 15 games this season Arcia has five multi-hit efforts, including three three-hit performances.

• He has now matched his total number of three-hit performances from the previous two seasons combined.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher Today’s Starting Pitcher

52 Dylan Lee LHP

2023 Record: 1-0, 2.81 ERA • 2022 Record: 5-1, 2.13 ERA
vs. RHB: .212 (7-33), 0 HR • vs. LHB: .208 (5-24), 2 HR
Home: 1-0, 2.35 ERA (2 ER/7.2 IP) • Away: 0-0, 3.24 ERA (3 ER/8.1 IP)

Today’s Game
• Set to make his first career major-league regular season start.

• His last regular season start came on July 23, 2017 for the Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, Miami’s affiliate in the South Atlantic League.

• He faced Asheville, Colorado’s affiliate, and took a no-decision in the Tourists’ 10-4 win.

• Lee made his first career start with Atlanta on October 30, 2021 against Houston in Game 4 of the World Series…The Braves went on to win 3-2.

• Lee became the second pitcher in major league history (first in the World Series) to make his first career start in the postseason.

• The first pitcher to do so was teammate A.J. Minter, who threw 3.0 scoreless innings for the Braves during the 2020 postseason in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

• His 0.1 inning pitched on April 25 tied for the shortest outing of his career…Allowed two earned runs…Has recorded just one out in seven other outings in his career, but had never given up more than one earned run in any of them.

• 2023 is his second full MLB season…Went 5-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 46 appearances out of Atlanta’s pen in 2022.

• Last season, his 31 inherited runners tied for the second most in the National League dating to his first appearance with the Braves…His 65.5% strand rate was the seventh highest in the NL (min. 30 IR).

• Threw a strike on 69.4% of his pitches last season, the sixth highest rate in the NL (min. 15 appearances).

• RHP’s Jesse Chavez and Jackson Stephens were the last relievers to start a game for Atlanta last season.

• Each opened a game for the Braves last season and pitched to a combined 11.25 ERA (5 ER/4.0 IP).

• Stephens started the last game of the 2022 season while Chavez opened the game for Atlanta on May 6, 2022 against Milwaukee.

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