Tonight’s ESPN confrontation means ratings when these two teams play and this is the case no matter the network and the same hold true for those setting the betting odds, the action is robust with large portions wagered on both sides. New York tries to win this four-game series, while Boston attempts to salvage a tie.
Yankees on the Brink
Yesterday here at SBR, I mentioned the Yankees were thrilled with their pickup of catcher Brian McCann and like him were unconcerned about his slow start since he’s a career .276 hitter with good power. Yesterday, he began the process of breaking out of his early season slump with two home runs and three rbi’s in the Yanks 7-4 victory.
In all, New York totaled five home runs, which was the second-most they have ever hit at home against their hated rivals, which they had done twice previously.
This is more of what MLB baseball handicappers expect from the Bronx Bombers, who had just seven long balls coming into Saturday.
Jacoby Ellsbury will look to stay hot, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a walk yesterday. He also stole a base, his sixth swipe of the season. Ellsbury is now batting .372 on the year.
Boston’s Been down this Path Before
Having won three World Series titles since 2004, the Red Sox are well aware every season is a new year and being the champion means every comes to play with more focus and motivation to knock off the champs.
Not that the Yankees need any more anyways, but it sticks in the crawl of New York players and fans when their neighbors to the north have more success than they do.
While Boston is not going to be out of contention with a loss this evening, it’s been rough go since the second series of the season, with the Red Sox 3-6 (-5.00 units). Oddsmakers will not be adjusting the MLB odds on Boston as defending champions any time soon, but skipper John Farrell is still looking for greater consistency in the top two slots of the batting order.
We are only two weeks into the season, thus not much to worry about with the BoSox just yet, nonetheless, those making sports picks backing this team are a becoming a little nervous since the Red Sox averaged 5.2 runs a game last year, the best in baseball and at this point they are at 3.7.
Pitching Matchup for Sunday
Felix Doubront (1-1, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) struggled mightily in his last start, giving up six hits, five walks and three runs over 2 2/3 innings against Texas. Doubront is 3-2 with a 4.17 ERA lifetime against the Yankees in eight starts and his team has ended up winning five of these contests. The lefthander throws in the low 90’s but his fastball does not have great movement which will get him in trouble.
Ivan Nova (1-1, 8.57, 2.24) has struggled through two starts. He gave just two runs to Houston despite permitting 11 base-runners in 5 2/3 innings (five walks), but was clubbed by Baltimore with no curve or sinker for seven runs. Nova’s fastball will reach 95 MPH, but it doesn’t have a lot of movement, which means he has to throw his breaking stuff for strikes. He better be careful of David Ortiz who has reached base against New York in 25 straight contests. Nova is 6-1 OVER when facing Boston.
Going into today’s game, Red Sox relievers had an ERA of 2.97 and a WHIP of 1.211, with 38 strikeouts and only six seven. They were finally touched for their first home run of the season in 36 2/3 innings.
After an off-kilter start, the New York bullpen has been sharper and its ERA has sunk to 3.66 (8th in the AL). This crew now has a better than 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and has permitted only 24 hits in 32 innings and is a perfect 5-0 in save opportunities.
Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
With Saturday’s victory, the Yankees are 11-11 at home versus the Red Sox the past three seasons, with the OVER 12-10.
New York was released as -115 favorites but by this morning was switched to +101 underdogs with the total at Over 9.
Winner Is…..New York
This is a really tight call, but I like the fact the Pinstripes are 23-6 at home after put up six extra base hits or more. What I really prefer is the OVER for my MLB Picks, with two bumbling starters and Boston also likely to hit more.
MLB Free Picks: New York and Over