Tonight’s Pitching Matchup:
Julio Teheran: 4-1; 4.17 ERA
Eduardo Rodriguez: 4-1; 4.13 ERA
In terms of pitching matchups, it doesn’t get much more even then tonight in terms of the numbers. While Teheran and Rodriguez get the job done very differently, and throw with opposite arms, these pitchers find themselves with similar results at this point in the season.
While Rodriguez hasn’t been amazing, in 9 starts he’s gone 4-1 with a respectable 4.13 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. His outings have been short, both by design and ineffectiveness, as he’s averaging just over 5 innings per start. But while the numbers may not show it, the eye does. He looks solid. Rodriguez is missing bats. His 10.88 K/9 easily represents the best of his short career. His walk rate is down a bit at 3.00, the lowest since his rookie season and his 3.63 K/BB is pretty impressive. The control looks a bit better. He still misses the strikezone a lot, but it seems more often by design and intention. Keep an eye on him as the season goes on. Fielding independent metrics support that he’s pitching a little better than his results show(from Fangraphs):
Meanwhile, Julio Teheran is a veteran at this point in his career. He’s coming off 2 starts in which he combined for 10 runs allowed in 11 innings. In a small sample size, the Red Sox have mostly owned him. He is 0-2 with a career 4.73 ERA against Boston, but 0-1 in his only start at Fenway when he lasted 6.1 innings and gave up 6 earned runs. In contrast to Rodriguez, FIP and xFIP do not favor Teheran’s work (from Fangraphs):
Teheran has been relying on his fastball a career high 69.3% of the time and his curveball usage is down to 2.6%. The slider that gave him so much success in 2016 has since evaded him in 2017 and 2018 and the average velocity on it is down to 79.9 MPH (whether by design or not, this is a career low). Speaking of velocity, his average pitch speeds are down across the board and his fastball speed has dropped from 92.0 MPH last season to 90.3 MPH this season (courtesy of FanGraphs).
If Teheran turns to the fastball as often as he has early against Boston, it could be a short night against this new, more aggressive lineup.
Tonight’s Players to Watch:
Atlanta: Sit back and relax Red Sox fans, or rather… Don’t! This Atlanta team is not the team that was beat up on for the last few seasons. While Acuna Jr. is amazing and gets most of the hype, I’ve said it time and time again all season long, don’t sleep on Ozzie Albies. This lineup can absolutely rake when it gets hot and while Swanson has gone cold, the former 2015 #1 pick is a real ballplayer once it all connects. In this rare opportunity to see Atlanta, don’t watch any one player because you’ll miss all this team has to offer. Remember when the Astros were bad? Here come the Braves.
Boston: Mookie Betts is raking at a record pace J.D. Martinez is too. Since 2015, Martinez has hit 120 home runs (Stanton has hit 124). However, my player to watch tonight has to be Dustin Pedroia. In his return from the disabled list with a “new” knee for the first time in a few years, it will be interesting to see what he’s got left in the tank. He’s 0-3 in his career against Teheran and generally speaking the matchup isn’t favorable. But isn’t this the type of game Pedroia always seems to shine in? Let’s see if he’s got at least one good year left. If nothing else, the infield defense should improve drastically with Pedroia taking over for Nunez / Holt if he still has his mobility.
In Other News: Goodbye Hanley
Goodbye to one of the most fun ballplayers to watch when he’s on. Hanley reached out via Twitter to say goodbye to Red Sox Nation. Farewell Hanley. We wish you all the luck with whatever organization is lucky enough to pick you up.
Thank you #RedSoxNation. It’s been real. Love you always🙏🏽
— Hanley Ramirez ⚾ (@HanleyRamirez) May 25, 2018