Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yanks, A's seeking better production at plate

When the Yankees and A's start their three-game series in New York on Tuesday, don't be surprised if it isn't the most efficient brand of offensive baseball.
Both clubs have struggled mightily with runners on base. Entering Sunday, the A's had stranded an American League-leading 84 runners and were batting just .217 with runners in scoring position. At first glance, the Yanks' numbers are considerably better, but that's only because of the first series of the season. Over the past six games, however, the Yankees are just 4-for-57 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-12 days Friday and Saturday and a 1-for-11 showing Sunday.
If there were pitchers to break out of these slumps against, Michael Pineda of the Yankees and Eric Surkamp of the A's might be the ones. In their careers, opponents are batting .275 and .329 with RISP, respectively, compared to their .221 and .289 career batting averages against with the bases empty.
Three things to know about this game
• After no off-days for 10 days to start the season, the A's will be well-rested, as the team will have played only three of the previous five days entering the opener. The Yankees will be coming in from the opposite side of the spectrum, with Monday the team's first day off in a week. However, that is after three off-days or games postponed in the first eight days of the season.
• Pineda has made three starts against the A's, but never as a Yankee. The tall right-hander faced Oakland three times in 2011 when he was with the Mariners and was impressive, allowing just four runs in 18 innings -- good for an ERA of 2.00 -- and striking out 19. Surkamp has never faced the Yankees.
• The A's have had a lot of success against the Yankees in the past three years. Oakland has won 13 of the 19 contests against the Yankees since 2013 and are 21-17 against the Bronx Bombers since 2011.

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