Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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MLB Preview: New York Yankees (74-73) at Pittsburgh Pirates (69-78)


AT A GLANCE: The Yankees continue their seven-game road trip tonight with the first game of a three-game set at Pittsburgh (through Sun.)…went 3-1 in their four-game set at Boston… after this series, will return home for their final homestand of the season that includes a three-game set vs. Toronto (9/19-21) and a three-game series vs. Arizona (9/22-24). Have won four of their last five games after losing their previous three…are 12-5 in their last 17 games (since 8/28) and 14-8 in their last 22 games (since 8/23). Seven of the Yankees’ last eight wins have been come-from-behind wins.  Have won nine of their last 11 road games (since 8/28). Have won four of their last five series (since 8/28).

FOR STARTERS: Yankees starters have posted a 2.85 ERA (126.1IP, 40ER) in their last 24 games (since 8/20)…have allowed 3ER-orfewer in 22 of those 24 starts and 2ER-or-fewer in 19 of those starts

ON A ROLL: INF Oswald Peraza hit his first HR of the season and second of his career with a two-run shot in the ninth inning of Game 2 on Thursday…collected multiple hits in both games of yesterday’s doubleheader, going 4-for-9 with 2R, 1 double, HHR and 2RBI. Has hit .375 (15-for-40) with 3R, 5 doubles, 1HR and 6RBI in
his last 10 games (since 9/2). Owns a career-high seven-game hitting streak (since 9/6).

BATTERS’ EYE: Since the All-Star break, the Yankees lead the Majors with a 9.34 PA/BB ratio and a 4.05 pitches per plate appearance ratio…prior to the All-Star break, ranked 20th in the Majors in both categories (11.90 PA/BB and 3.86 P/PA).

RHP Gerrit Cole will make his 31st start of the season in tonight’s series opener at Pittsburgh…the 33-year-old will start on regular four days’ rest…last started on Sunday vs. Milwaukee and allowed just three baserunners over 7.0 scoreless innings in a no-decision in the Yankees’ 13-inning win vs. Milwaukee (3H, 0BB, 9K, 1WP)…is 13-4 with a 2.79 ERA (187.0IP, 58ER) and 204K in 30 starts this season…owns the lowest ERA in the American League and the third-lowest in the Majors, trailing only San Diego’s Blake Snell (2.43) and Chicago-NL’s Justin Steele (2.49)…has allowed 2R-or-fewer in 23 of his 30 starts this season, tied with San Diego’s Blake Snell for the most such starts in the Majors…started for the American League in the 93rd Midsummer Classic on 7/11 and retired all 3BF, becoming the 12th pitcher in franchise history (20th time) to start an All-Star Game…was named to his sixth career All-Star team via the player ballot…reached 10 years of Major League service on 5/29…recorded his 2,000th career strikeout on 5/23 vs. Baltimore (Jorge Mateo swinging), becoming the third-fastest pitcher in Major League history to reach the milestone (in terms of games and innings pitched)…his Major League-leading 257K last season were the most by a Yankees pitcher in a single season in franchise history, surpassing Ron Guidry’s previous record of 248K in 1978…the six-time All-Star (2015, ’18-19, ’21-23) has finished in the top-five of Cy Young Award voting five times (second in 2021, fourth in 2020, second in 2019, fifth in 2018, fourth in 2015)…his career 10.46 K/9.0IP ratio (2,134K/1,837.0IP) is the eighth-highest in Major League history (min. 1,000.0IP)…in 105 starts with the Yankees, is 49-23 with a 3.14 ERA (642.0IP, 224ER) and 798K…since 2018, leads the Majors in wins (84), strikeouts (1,400), and innings pitched (1,054.2), ranks second in K/9.0IP (11.95), third in opponents’ BA (.205), WAR among pitchers (27.5 – FanGraphs) and winning percentage (.718, min. 60 decisions), fourth in WHIP (1.00) and K/BB (5.28), and seventh in ERA (2.96)…was originally selected by the Yankees in the first round (28th overall) of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft but did not sign and went on to play at UCLA for three seasons (2009-11)…was the first overall pick of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, the 15th pitcher (and 11th right-hander) to be chosen first…is the fifth player selected first overall to play for the Yankees, joining Alex Rodriguez, Darryl Strawberry, Tim Foli and Ron Blomberg…signed a nine-year contract extending through the 2028 season with a player opt-out following the 2024 season on 12/18/19.

LAST START: Allowed just three baserunners over 7.0 scoreless innings in a no-decision in Sunday’s 13-inning win vs. Milwaukee (3H, 0BB, 9K, 1WP)…marked his fourth start this season where he tossed at least 7.0 innings and allowed three-or-fewer baserunners (H/BB/HP)…his four such starts are tied with Mike Mussina (four in 2001) for the most in a season in franchise history. Marked his sixth scoreless start of the season (also 0R in 7.0IP on 7/28 at Baltimore, 0R in 6.0IP on 5/17 at Toronto, 0R in 5.2IP on 4/22 vs. Toronto, CGSHO on 4/16 vs. Minnesota and 0R in 6.0IP on 3/30 vs. San Francisco)…his six scoreless starts of at least 5.0 innings this year are tied for the fourth-most in the AL and match the third-most by a Yankee in the last 22 years (since 2002), trailing only Hiroki Kuroda’s nine such starts in 2013 and his own seven such starts in 2021…marks his third straight season of recording at least six such starts.

STRIKEOUT MACHINE: Has recorded at least 200K for the sixth time in his career (also 2015, ’18-19, ’21-22)…has reached the 200K plateau for his fifth straight 162-game season (also 2018-19, ’21-22; recorded 94K in the abbreviated 60-game season in 2020)…is the first Yankee in franchise history to record at least 200K in three different seasons (previous: twice by Luis Severino in 2017 and 2018, David Cone in 1997 and 1998, and Ron Guidry in 1978 and 1979)…is just one of two Major League pitchers since 2015 to record at least six seasons with at least 200K, joining Max Scherzer (also six).

2023: Is 13-4 with a 2.79 ERA (187.0IP, 58ER) and 204K in 30GS this season…has allowed 2R-or-fewer in 23 of his 30GS this year, tied with San Diego’s Blake Snell for the most in the Majors…his 23 starts of 2R-or-fewer this season match the third-most by a Yankees starter in a single season in franchise history, trailing only Jack Chesbro (28 in 1904) and Ron Guidry (26 in 1978)…is just the seventh pitcher in franchise history to accomplish the feat…Russ Ford (23 in 1910), Whitey Ford (23 in 1964), Mel Stottlemyre (23 in 1968) and Stan Bahnsen (23 in 1968) also recorded 23 such starts in a season…is the only Yankees pitcher in the last 45 years (since 1979) to record 23 such starts in a single season and just the second Yankees starter to do so in the last 55 years (also Guidry).


THE PIRATES:..earned a series win after shutting out the Nationals 2-0 yesterday afternoon…Have gone 11-5 since 8/28, which is tied for the third-best record in MLB along with the Rays (the Yankees and Braves are an MLB-best 12-5 in that time)…Won five straight games from 8/28 to 9/2, their third-longest winning streak of the season (the team won a season-high seven straight games from 4/17-23)…Have won four games this season when trailing after eight innings (won three games when trailing after eight last season)…Have gone 28-24 in their last 52 games since losing each of their first five games following the All-Star break.

ROSTER MOVE: Prior to tonight’s game the Pirates ended the rehabilitation assignment of catcher/outfielder Henry Davis with Triple-A Indianapolis and reinstated him from the 10-day injured list (right hand muscle strain)…Infielder Vinny Capra has been optioned to Indianapolis to make room for Davis on the active roster…Davis went 8-for-13 with a home run, two RBI, .722 OBP, .846 slugging percentage and 1.568 OPS in four games on his rehab assignment.

DRAWING A BLANK: The Pirates recorded their ninth shutout of the season yesterday and first at PNC Park since Mitch Keller tossed a complete game against the Rockies on May 8…Beginning with Johan Oviedo’s complete game shutout on August 28 at Kansas City, the Pirates have posted the sixth-best ERA (3.49) in all of Major League Baseball…The only five teams with a lower ERA in that time are the Brewers (2.45), Rays (3.01), Tigers (3.06), Cubs (3.09) and Yankees (3.33).

ABOUT TONIGHT’S STARTER: Johan Oviedo gets the start tonight in the opener of this weekend series against the Yankees…Oviedo has allowed one earned run apiece in three of his last four starts at PNC Park…The exception came on August 11 against the Reds when he gave up six runs in 5.0 innings.

KELLER AND COLE: Mitch Keller struck out eight batters on Thursday, giving him 198 for the season that surpassed Gerrit Cole (196 in 2017) for the 10th-most strikeouts in a single season in Pirates history…Keller is now four strikeouts away from tying Cole for the eighth-most strikeouts in Pirates history (Cole had 202 in 2015, which are the second-most by a righthander in a single-season in Pirates history)…The most strikeouts by a Pirates righthander in a single season is 209, which was accomplished by A.J. Burnett in 2013.

FAST TIMES AT PNC PARK: Thursday’s game time of 1 hour and 50 minutes was the second-shortest nine-inning game in PNC Park history (the shortest was 1 hour, 47 minutes on August 25, 2004 vs. Arizona)…Including shortened games, yesterday was also the fifth-quickest game in ballpark history and the shortest since a 1 hour and 32 minute, five-inning game on April 20, 2019, vs. San Francisco…It was also tied for the shortest nine inning game in MLB this season (also game two of the Guardians-Tigers doubleheader at Comerica Park on April 18).

REYNOLDS ROLLING: Bryan Reynolds is hitting at a .339 clip (20-for-59) over his last 15 games dating back to August 29…The only three players in MLB with a higher batting average in that time (minimum 50 at-bats) are Philadelphia’s Trea Turner (.393), San Diego’s Xander Bogaerts (.377) and Seiya Suzuki of the Chicago Cubs (.350).

NO JOSHING AROUND: Joshua Palacios went 1-for-3 on Thursday while starting in left field…Since August 26, Palacios is hitting .350 (13-for-40) with a triple, home run and five RBI in 11 starts.

SUWINSKI SURGING: Jack Suwinski comes into today with a season-high seven-game hitting streak, going 10-for-24 (.417) with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBI (he hit safely in a career-high eight straight games last year as a rookie)…Suwinski comes into today with the sixth-highest OPS (.824) among all center fielders in MLB (Cody Bellinger is first with a .940 OPS).

THIS AND THAT: The Pirates have won five straight and 10 of their last 11 games when scoring at least four runs…Pittsburgh has won eight of its last 10 games when the team does not make an error…The Pirates are 35-26 in one or two run games…Pittsburgh has gone 28-9 in games when the team hits two or more home runs…The Pirates have won each of their last 11 games when their starter works at least 6.0 innings.

JOHAN OVIEDO: The 25-year-old righthander is making his 30th start tonight…He had a no-decision (3.2ip/3er) in his last start Saturday night in Atlanta.

vs. NEW YORK (AL): Has never faced the Yankees.

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