Thursday's game opened as a pick'em with both teams at -105 on MLB odds -- the only pick'em at sportsbooks for the day -- and a total of nine runs for sports bettors.
Drew Could Make Difference
The American League East looks completely up for grabs this season with no dominant team -- but every team capable -- and it could be a club takes the division with less than 90 wins. That hasn't happened in 14 years. So why haven't the Yankees or Red Sox signed Drew yet?
The free-agent shortstop clearly should have taken the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer the Red Sox offered him this offseason. Drew figured he could get a huge multi-year deal on the market after batting .253 with 13 home runs and 67 RBIs last year for Boston. Drew and agent Scott Boras overplayed their hand. Now it's possible that Drew won't sign with anyone until after the draft on June 5. That way, the signing team wouldn't have to give up a compensatory pick to Boston for signing Drew.
The Red Sox could use him as insurance in case Will Middlebrooks struggles at third base. He has played in only four games this season because of a calf injury and hit .231 with a homer. The team could shift Xander Bogaerts to third and play Drew at shortstop, which is what happened in last year's postseason. The Sox could sign Drew now since obviously they don't have to relinquish a pick and could block the Yankees (or the shortstop-desperate Detroit Tigers) from getting him.
Obviously the Yankees have a shortstop in Derek Jeter, but he's going to be 40 soon and it's unlikely Jeter can play more than 130 games at that age. Drew could spell him or move to second base, which has been a black hole for New York. Then Drew could be a potential replacement for Jeter next season. Owner Hal Steinbrenner already has said he sees no need for the Yanks to sign Drew, but that could be bluffing. The Yanks have a terrible offensive infield.
Drew could be the difference in winning a few games for either Boston or New York. That could be enough to win the AL East. The Yanks are currently +200 favorites to do so at sportsbooks with Boston at +250.
New York has reason to be concerned over presumed ace CC Sabathia (2-2, 5.19). He lost a lot of weight this offseason after a very disappointing 2013 season, but it hasn't shown in the numbers yet. Sabathia allowed at least four earned runs in his first three starts but was good last time out, allowing an earned run and seven hits over seven innings in a win at Tampa Bay. He has alternated decisions so far this season. Sabathia was beaten at Yankee Stadium on April 11 by the Red Sox, giving up six hits and four runs over six innings. He struck out a season-high nine. Jonny Gomes and Grady Sizemore both homered off Sabathia, coming in Boston's four-run sixth inning. The Yankees were +117 dogs at sportsbooks because the Sox were starting ace Jon Lester.
Sabathia pitched three times last year in Fenway Park, and it was his house of horrors. He allowed 25 hits, 18 runs and walked 11 in 16.1 innings in going 1-1. Sox batters hit a whopping .379 off him. Gomes is a career .275 hitter off Sabathia with six RBIs. Mike Napoli is 9-for-32 with two home runs and eight RBIs. Shane Victorino is 9-for-22 with six RBIs against Sabathia. Big Papi has faced him the most and has 15 hits in 63 at-bats but also 15 strikeouts.
The Red Sox start lefty Felix Doubront (1-2, 5.48). His numbers are skewed by one bad start vs. Texas where Doubront lasted only 2.2 innings. Otherwise he has been decent. He pitched at Yankee Stadium on April 13 and allowed three runs and seven hits in 6.2 innings in taking the loss; Boston was a +100 underdog for sports bettors. Carlos Beltran hit a two-run dinger off Doubront. Alfonso Soriano feasts off Doubront, going 3-for8 with two home runs and six RBIs. Mark Teixeira has two home runs in 12 at-bats off him. Derek Jeter is only 2-for-14 off Doubront.
MLB Free Picks: Yankees at -105 on MLB odds and the under nine runs (-115). New York is 7-1 in its past eight road games against lefty starters and hammered Boston's Lester on Tuesday. The under has hit in nine of Boston's past 11 Thursday games. It is also 6-0 in Doubront's past six Thursday starts.