New York Yankees
Down two games to nothing, with their backs against the wall, the Yankees prevailed in a five-game series against the Indians. They move on to the ALCS where they will face the Houston Astros. Didi Gregorius sealed the Game 5 victory with two big home runs against Cy Young hopeful, Corey Kluber. The Yankees are now just four wins away from being back in the World Series for the first times since 2009. Let’s take a look at the Yankees’ probable starters.
New York Starters
In his last 16 innings, Tanaka has 22 strikeouts, allowed just six hits, and, most importantly, has not given up a run. This season, the Yankees right-hander threw off-speed pitches 62.6 percent (1,762/2,814) of the time, highest rate in the Majors (League Avg: 41.8 percent). All of those breaking pitches lead to a lot of swings and misses. Opponents had a miss rate of 30.9 percent (445/1,442) against Tanaka during the regular season, ninth highest. While he relies on his slider and split-finger most, the curveball has yielded his best results in minimal plate appearances. Tanaka only throws his curveball a little over six percent of the time, but in 32 plate appearances ending on it, opponents have an OPS of just .446 – his lowest OPS against of any pitch.
Severino was offered redemption in Game 4 after not completing the first inning in the Wild Card Game. The young Ace went seven innings and struck out nine batters, allowing three runs on the way to a 7-3 victory. Severino is doing a marvelous job retiring the first batter of an inning. Since the All-Star Break, opponents hit .108 (9-for-83) against Luis Severino to leadoff the inning, best among starters. When runners do get on base, Severino tends to struggle just a little more often:
Despite allowing a higher OPS, Severino has a higher groundball rate with runners on base.
Gray struggled through 3.1 innings against the Indians in Game 1. One area where Gray did not struggle during the season was with two strikes. In fact, Gray allowed a slugging percentage of .177 (57 total bases/322 ABs) with two strikes this season, third best among qualified starters. Since the All-Star Break he’s been great with his two breaking balls. Opponents hit just .140 (13-for-93) on curves and sliders in the second half of the season, 12th best among qualified starters (League Avg: .218).
Sabathia marveled us with four vintage innings in Game 5 of the ALDS before returning to earth in the fifth. In fact, that was the first time he struck out eight batters in four innings all season long. In the overall outing, seven of Sabathia’s nine strikeouts came via his sweeping slider. The veteran lefty threw the slider 50.5 percent (167/331) of the time with two strikes in the second half of the season, seventh highest among starters (League Avg: 29.0 percent). This season, batters only had nine extra-base hits in 189 plate appearances that ended on his slider. The current Astros team had an OPS of just .654 against sliders in the regular season.
New York Relievers
Despite a small hiccup in Game 2, the New York bullpen was, once again, stellar. Let’s see what Remarkable! has to say about the incredible pen:
- Opponents did not have a hit against David Robertson (0-for-27) on pitches in the strike zone over the last 30 days of the regular season (Rank: 1st of 84 qualified RPs in MLB; League Avg: .281).
- Dellin Betances has recorded 85 of his 114 strikeouts vs right-handed batters (74.6%) with his curveball since the start of 2016 (Rank: 3rd of 160 qualified RPs in MLB; League Avg: 11.4%).
- Opponents are hitting .168 against Aroldis Chapman (51-for-303) on fastballs since the start of 2016 (Rank: 2nd of 165 qualified RPs in MLB; League Avg: .268)
- Chad Green has a strikeout rate of 56.8% (25/44) with RISP this season (Rank: 2nd of 221 qualified RPs in MLB; League Avg: 21.7%).
- Adam Warren threw his slider 53.5% of the time (123/230) when he’s behind in the count this season (Rank: 5th of 165 qualified RPs in MLB; League Avg: 20.0%).
- Left-handed hitters have a miss rate of 45.5% (30/66) against Chasen Shreve since the All-Star Break (Rank: 4th of 238 qualified RPs in MLB; League Avg: 25.3%).
New York Hitters
The power bats came through for New York in the last series, but will they have enough thunder to defeat the Astros? Let’s see what Remarkable! has to say about the Bronx Bombers:
- Didi Gregorius is slugging .810 (34 total bases in 42 ABs) on curves and sliders against RHP since the All-Star Break (Rank: 1st of 160 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .365).
- Brett Gardner has grounded into just 10 double plays in 195 opportunities (5.1%) since the start of 2016 (Rank: 4th of 130 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: 11.1%).
- Aaron Judge slugged 1.486 (52 total bases in 35 ABs) when the pitcher was behind in the count over the second half of the season (Rank: 1st of 160 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .644).
- Gary Sanchez is slugging .474 (63 total bases in 133 ABs) with two strikes since the All-Star Break (Rank: 1st of 160 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .280).
- Todd Frazier slugged .561 (23 total bases in 41 ABs) on breaking balls down and away since the All-Star Break (Rank: 1st of 69 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .216).
- Greg Bird had a Well-Hit Avg of .345 (10/29) versus starting pitchers over the last 30 days of the regular season (Rank: 1st of 106 part-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .167).
- Starlin Castro batted .491 (27-for-55) on the first pitch of at-bats this season (Rank: 5th of 145 part-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .348).
- Aaron Hicks slugged .706 (24 total bases in 34 ABs) versus relief pitchers after the All-Star Break (Rank: 3rd of 159 part-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .406).
Houston battled back in Game 4 against Craig Kimbrel, one of MLB’s best relievers, to move on to the American League Championship Series. Before that, Jose Altuve hit three home runs, two coming off of Chris Sale, in a historic Game 1 and Dallas Keuchel shut down the Red Sox for five plus innings in Game 2. Now, they have to face the Yankees for a chance at the World Series. Let’s take a look at the Astros’ probable starters.
The crafty lefty does his best work when batters are hitting the ball on the ground. Opponents had a groundball rate of 67.5 percent (276/409) against Keuchel during the regular season, best among starters (League Avg: 45.3 percent). These groundballs lead to an overabundance of double plays. Keuchel has induced opposing hitters to ground into 24 double plays in 105 opportunities (22.9 percent) this season, best in MLB (League Avg: 11.5 percent). Keuchel does seem to struggle throwing strikes with runners in scoring position (RISP). Since the start of 2016, the Astros’ lefty has walked 39 of 207 (14.4 percent) with RISP, fourth worst (League Avg: 10.0 percent).
Verlander took the mound as a reliever in Game 4 and promptly gave up a two-run home run around Pesky’s Pole. He will be back in a starting role for Game 2 of the ALCS. Opponents hit just .174 (62-for-356) against Verlander after the All-Star Break, second best among qualified starters. What lead to that success? The fastball. Opposing batters only hit .151 (28-for-185) against Verlander’s fastball in the second half, second among starters. When the Astros’ Ace is working both sides of the plate, he is very difficult to square up. In fact, Verlander allowed only a .447 OPS (League Avg: .771 OPS) on inside pitches and a .482 OPS on pitches away (League Avg: .668 OPS) since the All-Star Break.
Morton only threw 4 ⅓ innings in Game 4 against the Red Sox, but it resulted in his team winning the game. Managers tend to have short leashes this postseason, but if Morton is able to provide four or five strong innings it will put the Astros in a good position. When Morton gets ahead in the count, he’s been very difficult to hit against this season. Opponents hit just .131 (40-for-305) against Charlie Morton with two strikes this season, ninth best among starters (League Avg: .180). When he is ahead in the count, Morton’s go-to pitch is his curveball. The Astros righty recorded 84 of his 163 strikeouts (51.5 percent) with his curve this season (League Avg: 17.4 percent).
Peacock struggled in his first playoff outing, but he looks to rebound in the ALCS. Much like Morton, Peacock finds his success when batters are in a two-strike hole. In the second half of the season, opponents hit .101 (15-for-149) against him with two-strikes, eighth best in MLB. The Astros starter does struggle against left-handed batters. Lefties have a .759 OPS against, while righties have a .501 OPS against Peacock. He has relied on his slider more often this year. In 2016, Peacock threw his slider 29 percent of the time, but in 2017 he increased it to 38 percent. This includes throwing it 50.3 percent of the time with runners in scoring position since the All-Star Break, the third highest rate among starters (League Avg: 25.7%).
With the longest start of the series being six innings, the Astros bullpen played a big role in their advancement to the ALCS. Let’s take a closer look at their bullpen with the help of Remarkable!:
- Opponents have a miss rate of 31.9% (1,409/4,413) against Astros relievers this season (Rank: 1st of 30 in MLB; League Avg: 26.1%).
- Opponents have a Well-Hit Avg of .209 (213/1,021) against the Astros relievers on fastballs this season (Rank: 30th of 30 in MLB; League Avg: .177).
- Houston moved Lance McCullers to the bullpen for the playoffs. This season, McCullers recorded 108 of his 132 strikeouts (81.8%) with his curveball, highest among qualified starters (League Avg: 17.4%).
- Hitters have chased 51 of Ken Giles‘ 110 breaking balls out of the zone (chase rate of 46.4%) since the All-Star Break (Rank: Tied for 15th of 215 qualified RPs in MLB; League Avg: 32.3%).
The MLB’s best offense flexed their muscles against the Red Sox, averaging two home runs and six runs per game. Will they have the same luck against New York? Let’s take a look at what Remarkable! has to say:
- Jose Altuve batted .407 (33-for-81) versus relief pitchers in the second half of the season (Rank: 1st of 160 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .246).
- Josh Reddick had an OPS of 1.062 (31 PAs) with two strikes over the last 30 days of the regular season (Rank: 3rd of 144 part-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .516).
- George Springer had a Well-Hit Avg of .289 (37/128) on pitches 94 mph or greater this season (Rank: 5th of 145 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .171).
- Carlos Correa batted .494 (39-for-79) when ahead in the count this season (Rank: 3rd of 176 part-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .350).
- Alex Bregman batted .371 (26-for-70) on low non-fastballs after the All-Star Break (Rank: 2nd of 160 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .186).
- Marwin Gonzalez slugged .927 (38 total bases in 41 ABs) on the first pitch of at-bats this season (Rank: Tied for 6th of 144 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .585).
- Yuli Gurriel had a Well-Hit Avg of .328 (20/61) versus RHP over the last 30 days of the regular season (Rank: 3rd of 165 full-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .163).
- Evan Gattis slugged .700 (42 total bases in 60 ABs) on high fastballs this season (Rank: 5th of 174 part-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .400).
- Brian McCann had an OPS of 1.128 (66 PAs) versus relief pitchers in the second half of the season (Rank: 3rd of 159 part-time hitters in MLB; League Avg: .728).
Thanks for visiting! For more information on Remarkable, click here: inside-edge.com/remarkable
And, you may also enjoy what we’re posting over on Twitter: @InsideEdgeScout
photo credits Icon Sportswire