The New York Yankees have already taken the first two games of their three-game set with the Boston Red Sox. But the MLB odds for Sunday's finale have Boston favored at home.
Jason's 2015 record as of May 2: 11-8, plus-2.51 units ML; 0-1, minus-1.05 units totals
The New York Yankees are back. They haven't made the playoffs since prehistoric times (2012 CE), but after winning five of their last six games, the Yankees (15-9, plus-5.90 units) are on top of the American League East. Good to see them living up to that “A” grade we assigned them back when they were just 8-7.
Fans in the Bronx will be even happier this weekend after their heroes took the first two games of their three-game series against their archnemesis, the Boston Red Sox. And they won both games as road dogs at Fenway Park. As we go to press, the Yankees are +120 on the MLB odds board for Sunday's finale (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN), with Adam Warren scheduled to take the mound against fellow northpaw Joe Kelly.
“A” Is for AARP
You know the Yankees stereotype by now: aging and expensive batting order, injury-riddled and expensive pitching staff. Sometimes it works. Going into Game 2 of this series, New York (.323 OBP) was barely above the league average of .318 for on-base percentage. But the Bombers were also second on the junior circuit with 30 home runs. You can add one more to that total after Chris Young went deep in Saturday's 4-2 win over Boston (–130).
As for that pitching staff, it's No. 1 in the majors at 4.5 WAR. We've reached the back end of the rotation, but Warren (4.43 FIP), a converted reliever, is hanging in there with 2.55 units in earnings on a team record of 3-1. He'll need some help from his bullpen this Sunday as well as the batting order – Warren has yet to pitch into the sixth inning this year. No sweat: New York's relievers have been up to the task, leading the AL at 1.7 WAR.
“B” Is for douBles
We gave the MLB odds favored Red Sox (12-12, minus-2.14 units) a “B” grade back when they were 9-6, and it's been rough sailing since then. Unlike the Yankees, Boston's done a fine job of getting on base (.331 OBP), but despite hitting 27 homers going into Saturday's game (plus one from Dustin Pedroia), the Sox are exactly league-average at .712 OPS. They're last in doubles by a wide margin at 25, and fourth-last in strikeouts with 159. It's like smallball on... um, Vitamin B-12.
Also unlike the Yankees, Boston's nearly injury-free pitching staff ranks No. 22 in the majors at 1.1 WAR. Sox fans were worried this would be their soft underbelly going into 2015, and we're once again at the back of the rotation with Kelly (3.59 FIP), although the fourth-year pitcher has amassed 1.81 units in profit with three team wins in four starts. Kelly's outstanding 10.65 strikeouts per nine innings have masked most of his deficiencies up to this point. So has Boston's batting order. Pardon me, I feel a segue coming on...
“C” Is for Fantasy Corner
What's that? You still don't have 1B Mike Napoli on your team? We recommended him for last week's game against the Baltimore Orioles, and he went 3-for-4 with a home run. Sure, that was a rare good game in what's been a rough season, including a puny .548 OPS next to his name. But Napoli has had success against Warren in the past, going 3-for-11 lifetime with a dinger, a pair of walks and a .930 OPS. Napoli is just 48% owned in Yahoo leagues as we go to press. By the way, Pedroia versus Warren? Two hits in 15 at-bats and a .321 OPS. Consider using a different second baseman on Sunday, just in case this is more than small sample size talking.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Yankees +123 at Pinnacle