If you’ve been following along, you know the drill. Happy Yusei Kikuchi Day.
This Jays southpaw’s struggles are well-documented, and we’re fading him again today vs. the scorching hot Yankees.
This will be the Bombers’ 3rd time seeing him this year, a situation that typically favors offense.
Familiarity aside, the Yanks absolutely dominate Yusei Kikuchi, as shown below (courtesy of BaseballSavant.com):
It doesn’t fully pull through in his ERA yet (he allowed 2 or less earned runs in all 3 starts vs. NYY this year), but the expected statistics from those matchups tell the story, namely the xwOBA of 0.428. The difference between his actual vs. expected statistics indicates the Yanks are tearing the cover off the ball vs. him but not getting the results they deserve yet.
This type of dynamic can play out when a team is smashing the ball hard off the bat but directly at defenders. Logic suggests that eventually, those barreled balls will find gaps.
Kikuchi’s only hope to save face might have been for the Yankees to rest some starters today. Spoiler alert: they’re not.
The full force is in play today, and we’re backing the Yanks with confidence to score 5+ runs.
New York Yankees Team Total Over 4.5 (-122) via FanDuel