The Yankees are making a run at the AL East trophy in 2018, but if they want to do it they are going to have to acquire another left-handed starting pitcher and reliever.
What do Sean Newcomb, David Price, Danny Duffy, Blake Snell, and Caleb Smith all have in common? Two things, they are all left-handed starting pitchers and they have all been knocked out by the Bronx Bombers offense before reaching the fifth inning.
The Yankees have been feasting on left-handed pitching this season and after Sunday night’s beatdown of David Price, have improved to a major league-best 21-6 when the opposition starts a left-handed pitcher against them. Many may think that most teams perform better against left-handed pitchers (in contrast to right-handed pitchers), but that is not the case for all teams.
The Red Sox are 12-10 in games where they face a left-handed starting pitcher and yet are an outstanding 44-19 when facing right-handed pitchers. I took some time to dive deeper into the actual numbers to get a true sense for if this was just by chance or if the Red Sox do in fact prefer to face right-handed pitchers. Here is what I found:
.257 batting average /. 317 OBP / .727 OPS / 25% Strikeout Rate / 1 HR Per 33 at-bats.
.268 batting average / .335 OBP / .807 OPS / 21% Strikeout Rate / 1 HR Per 23 at-bats.
While it is clear that the Red Sox underperform when it comes to facing left-handed pitching, it is also becoming clear that the team who wins the season series versus one another may, in fact, win the AL East.
After Sunday’s victory, the Yankees now lead the season series over the Red Sox (5 games to 4) and still have to face them 10 more times. The good news is that each of these games come after the July 31 trade deadline, which means the Yankees can insert another left-handed arm into the equation for a large number of remaining games against their division rival.
Aside from just starting pitching, it makes just as much sense to acquire a left-handed reliever. Excluding Aroldis Chapman, Chasen Shreve is the only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen that the Yankees have. However, Shreve is far from being a left-handed specialist as left-handed batters currently have a .400 OBP and a 1.025 OPS against him.
With 10 games remaining against the Red Sox and the potential scenario that has the Yankees and Red Sox squaring off in a five-game ALDS, it would be wise to add a left-handed arm for the rotation and for the bullpen. These moves may be necessary to get to the ultimate goal of a world series championship.