Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A's look to continue recent success vs. Yanks

Coming into this week's series, the A's have dominated the Yankees in recent memory, and that knowledge will still be lingering when the teams face off Wednesday, especially after the A's pulled away with an 11th-inning victory in the opener.
Oakland won 13 of the 19 games against New York between 2013 and '15. Despite the wide margin of success, the seven games between the Yankees and A's in 2015 were split about as even as they could be. The A's held a one-game advantage, winning four of the seven games, but barely outscored the Yankees by a 27 to 25 spread.
Flamethrowing starter Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound for the Yankees on Wednesday against Kendall Graveman. Eovaldi is 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two starts this season, while Graveman has fared much better with a 2.38 ERA, but he is also 0-1 and has lost six straight, dating back to last season.
Things to know about this game
• Eovaldi's early-season struggles can be traced back to his inability to keep the ball in the park. The power pitcher has allowed four home runs in 11 2/3 innings this season. This is a big reason why, despite his high rate of 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings, his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is a less-than-stellar 5.52 in the early going.
• Graveman doesn't have much experience against Yankees hitters in his career, and the results haven't been very positive in his limited exposure. Yankees bats are a lifetime 7-for-18 against Graveman, with catcher Brian McCann seeing the most success, going 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.
• Assuming Eovaldi and Graveman don't throw complete games, expect the bullpen arms to be throwing strikes, and plenty of them. Coming into this series, the A's and Yankees ranked first and second in the AL in bullpen strikeout-to-walk ratio, and the Yankees led the Majors in bullpen strikeouts per nine innings.

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