One important concept that Sabermetrics teaches us is to prepare for regression. That being said, at any given point in the season a player could be playing above or below his true production level. We sometimes call these streaks. The Angels’ starting pitcher on Monday, Matt Shoemaker, is almost certainly going through one of these periods. He has a career HR/9 of 1.20, but in his last three starts entering Monday, he had not given up a homer. In his career, he has an average K/9 of 8.20. In his last three starts, he has averaged 12.30 K/9. His career FIP is 3.84, and in his last three starts that number is a microscopic .39. There’s a trend here.
While Shoemaker’s 2016 season has mirrored that of a Disney World roller coaster, Monday’s Yankees starter, Masahiro Tanaka has been the picture of consistency this season. Tanaka has managed to get through five innings in every single start thus far and has only given up four or more runs twice.
Knowing that Shoemaker had been pitching better of late and that Tanaka had been Mr. Reliable, one might have been able to predict this unlikely pitching duel. Both pitchers did give up runs, and Shoemaker did revert back to his old ways of giving up the long ball, but overall both starting pitchers had solid outings.
In the end, the game was won in the bottom of the eighth inning when Carlos Beltran hit his 14 dinger of the year – a three run shot – off Angels reliever Jose Alvarez. The homer broke a 2 – 2 tie and lifted the Yankees to a 5 – 2 win. Starlin Castro and Brian McCann had homered back-to-back earlier off Shoemaker to tie the game.
The Angels righthander went 7 2/3 innings and gave up 4 earned runs while striking out 6. Tanaka pitched 7 innings, gave up 2 earned runs and struck out 3.
The Play: Beltran’s three run homerun in the eighth (+.362 WPA)
Yankees: Carlos Beltran (2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI)
Angels: Albert Pujols (2 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 RBI)
– Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits in the game. It was just the fourth game all year in which he had three hits.
– Monday’s game marks the sixth time out of twelve starts this season that Tanaka has lasted 7+ innings.
“We finally got it done for him” – Starlin Castro, on run support for Masahiro Tanaka
The Highlight: Starlin Castro goes back-to-back
The Yankees and Angels will go at it again on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Michael Pineda is on the bump for the Yankees and the Angels will send journeyman David Huff to the mound in place of the injured Nick Tropeano. Pineda had a decent start last week against Detroit where he only allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings of work.
Huff has not pitched at the major league level this season and has not seen success at the Triple-A level this year either. Huff is mainly a ground ball pitcher and utilizes two pitches – the fastball and changeup – almost exclusively.
Photo: Brad Penner / USATSI