Free MLB Picks for Yankees vs. Red Sox Series Finale

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, August 3, 2014 4:14 PM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 4:14 PM UTC

Because it's one of ESPN's Ten Commandments that the Sunday Night Game must feature the Yankees and Red Sox whenever they two are scheduled vs. one another on the day, we will look at it. Boston opened as a -122 favorite on MLB odds with a total of 9.

Did Yankees Do Enough?
While the Red Sox were unabashedly sellers ahead of Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees were buyers as they pretty much always are. However, New York most definitely did not make a big splash as many expected. The Yankees didn't address their injury-ravaged starting rotation at all despite being linked to everyone from David Price to Cliff Lee to John Danks. All of a sudden, GM Brian Cashman is hanging on to his prospects like a mother eagle with her chicks. It used to be the Yankees didn't care much about their farm system because they could buy what they wanted.

It's still possible the Yankees make a deal for a guy who either clears waivers or who the Yankees claim. Danks is one possibility. Lee might have been, but he just hurt his elbow again and went back on the DL. His season is done. All New York did was acquire infielder Stephen Drew from the Red Sox -- a very rare deal between the rivals, which should tell you how much the Sox thought of Drew -- and utility-man Martin Prado from Arizona. Cashman earlier had made minor  moves in acquiring pitcher Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks and third baseman Chase Headley from the Padres and those have both worked out well thus far.

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Drew was actually a Yankees target back all spring, but they were waiting until after June's draft to sign him to avoid giving up a draft pick to Boston. The Sox swooped in a few weeks before the draft and brought Drew back -- probably in part to keep him from New York. He takes over for the released Brian Roberts as the every-day second baseman. Prado had played two games in right field in his career entering this weekend but that's where he will be some nights instead of Ichiro. Prado can also back up at second and third. Drew and Prado are upgrades over what New York had but not exactly difference-makers.

The moves didn't shift the Yankees' MLB futures odds. They are +320 third-favorites to win the AL East, +2500 to win the pennant and +4000 to win the World Series. None of those are wise bets.

Check Out Our MLB Pitching Report for August 3rd!

Probable Pitchers
Former reliever David Phelps (5-5, 3.89) has become New York's most dependable starter this season, at least among guys who have been on the team all year. One has to wonder whether Phelps might begin to wear down. He is at 106.1 innings and his previous career high was 99.2 in 2012. The Yankees can't really afford to cap his innings, but they probably are going to have to in order to avoid injury. Phelps had a two-start winning streak snapped last time out, allowing four runs and eight hits over six innings at Texas.  He has been much worse on the road this year, going 1-4 with a 4.70 ERA. Oddly, right-handers hit him much better than lefties overall.

Phelps has faced the Sox three times this season, but all in relief. Those were back in April when New York still had a healthy rotation and didn't need Phelps there. He didn't allow an earned run in 4.2 innings against the Sox and got his only save of 2014. New Red Sox Allen Craig has a homer in three at-bats career off Phelps. Fellow new Red Sox Yoenis Cespedes is 0-for-6 off him with two strikeouts. Dustin Pedroia is 6-for-17 with three doubles and three RBIs against Phelps.

The only member of Boston's Opening Day rotation remaining is Clay Buchholz, and he gets the call here. A lot of things went wrong for the Sox this year and Buchholz (5-7, 5.87) is one of the big ones. He was limited by injuries in 2013 but had an excellent 1.74 ERA in 16 starts. That ERA would have led the AL by far if he had enough innings to qualify. The Red Sox have lost Buchholz's past two starts, both against Toronto, where he allowed a combined 12 runs and eight walks over 11 innings.

Buchholz has faced the Yanks once this season, holding them to two earned runs and seven hits over six innings on April 10 at Yankee Stadium. That was Buchholz's first loss of the year. Derek Jeter is a career .308 hitter with two RBIs in 26 at-bats off Buchholz. Perhaps Brett Gardner will get the night off. He's just 3-for-20 all-time vs. Buchholz with five strikeouts. Mark Teixeira is 4-for-21 with seven strikeouts but does have two home runs.

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MLB Free Pick
Yankees are nice value as a +112 dog here with a pitcher who has been better then Buchholz. Stay 'under' 9 at -120. The Sox are 1-6 in Buchholz's past seven against the AL East and 1-4 in his past five as a home favorite. Boston is 1-4 in Buchholz's past five at home vs. New York. The 'under' is 5-1 in Phelps' past six.

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