Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
This is the most heated rivalry in baseball and possibly all of sports. The New York Yankees send out the big man, C.C. Sabathia, while the Sox send out ace Jon Lester.
Lester was a disaster last year at 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA, but you have to remember that his team was flat-out disappointment and Lester couldn’t get the proper run support.
One thing in Lester’s favor is that he’s had major success in his career against the Bombers. He’s a career 9-4 in 22 starts.
C.C. Sabathia on the other hand, was 15-6 last season with a 3.38 ERA. Sabathia has been a big money pitcher since joining the Yanks. Durability is a question. Sabathia failed to go 200 innings and with all of the Yankees injuries, they need him.
Injuries Dominate the Yankees’ Scene
Russell Martin and Nick Swisher have moved on and are out of the equation. The Yankees will be without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson for this game and for a portion of the season.
They picked up Kevin Youkiliis and most recently Vernon Wells. Youk had done a fairly decent job in spring training and the Yankees will need his pop. Wells is capable but his batting average plummeted with the Angels last season. To add insult to injury, Lyle Overbay was cut by the Red Sox 6 days ago and will be starting today for the Yankees at 1st base. If that doesn’t sum it up, I don’t know what does.
Blue Collar Players
Boston got rid of the high priced players like Beckett, Gonzalez, and Crawford, and went for the hard working mid-level blue collar type players such as Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Dempster, and Mike Napoli. The Napoli pick could bring a lot of wins; I’m sure the Yanks would like to have him
You have a dead even matchup and the MLB odds indicate this. It’s difficult to go get Sabathia as a -110 betting favorite at home, but I think the Yanks moral and talent level is down.
Pick- Boston +100 at 5 Dimes
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia was an unexpected disaster last season, even with Roy Halladay as their ace. As of now, Cole Hamels has moved into the number 1 position and he starts tonight against the Braves.
Hamels was dominant last season at 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA and this was on a poor team. He’s carried over his success from last year and had an outstanding spring training. This could be the year that Cole Hamels is a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award in the NL. Hamels held the opposition to a .237 BA last season with 216 strikeouts.
Look for Philly to come out of the gates fast. Key players like Ryan Howard are healthy this season and there will be no excuses for the Phillies offense with Hamels pitching.
Atlanta loses Chipper Jones to retirement this season, but this is a baseball team that always finds a way to win no matter what the situation is. Unfortunately for them, they’ll be without Brian McCann for a month but you can still expect this team to produce.
197 Career Wins
Although Atlanta will be a young rather inexperienced ball club, veteran, Tim Hudson, will be taking the mound. Hudson has been outstanding as a Brave. He’s had 8 consecutive seasons of pitching .500 or better. He didn’t have a great spring training, but those games don’t count and players approach the regular season in a different manner.
Freddie Freeman is a budding star in his own right, but I expect a huge season out of Jason Heyward. He’s somewhat of a silent leader that’s on the cusp of stardom. We could see 30 HR, 100 RBI and a batting average bordering .300. Heyward is also a threat on the basepath. He’s only 5 for 21 against Hamels, but this is a new year. Stay tuned.
I’m going to side with Philadelphia in a low scoring game. Cole Hamels has been unstoppable.
Free MLB Picks – Philadelphia +103 and Philadelphia/Atlanta UNDER 7 (-115) at 5 Dimes
Good Luck Everyone!