MLB Picks: Red Sox vs. Yankees Friday Night

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, June 26, 2014 5:57 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 26, 2014 5:57 PM UTC

The most-hyped rivalry in baseball resumes Friday as the Yankees and Red Sox open a three-game set. In no surprise, all three games are on national television. I believe that's federal law. Game 1 opened as a pick'em on MLB odds with a total of 9.

Not Much Buzz This Time
Usually this time of year this series might be for first place in the American League East. However, the Yankees are just three games over .500 and the Red Sox are perhaps baseball's biggest disappointment at 36-43 and 7.5 games out of the division lead. While the Red Sox have underachieved in just about every way, the Yankees probably have overachieved. Their pitching staff has been ravaged by injury with guys like CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda still on the DL and Ivan Nova out for the season.

The Yankees ended a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win in Toronto on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep. That was New York's only road series from between June 17 and July 2. Starting July 3, the Yanks play  11 straight on the road, which could be a defining trip. Boston completed a seven-game West Coast trip on Wednesday night with a 5-4 win in Seattle to finish 2-5 on the trip. The bright side of that was the return of Clay Buchholz on Wednesday, and he pitched fairly well in getting the victory.

This will be the final series between the rivals until after the All-Star Break. New York leads the season series 5-2 and is 3-1 at home. The top hitters for New York against the Red Sox this season have been catcher Brian McCann (.375, two home runs, five RBIs), outfielder Carlos Beltran (.367, three home runs, six RBIs) and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (.345, six RBIs). Even struggling Derek Jeter is hitting .333 in 21 at-bats against Boston.

For Boston, Jonny Gomes is 4-for-11 with a home run and three RBIs against the Yankees this season. Mike Napoli is hitting .308 with two dingers and three knocked in. David Ortiz (.227, one home run, two RBIs) and Dustin Pedroia (.154, one RBI) have been held largely in check by Yankee pitchers.

Probable Pitchers
While Saturday's matchup is a dandy between aces Jon Lester and Masahiro Tanaka, Friday's isn't exactly must-see TV. Brandon Workman (1-0, 2.88) starts for Boston and he's only in there because of injury or ineffectiveness of others. Manager John Farrell has said Workman might stick around a while because he has pitched solidly. Farrell has shifted the struggling Felix Doubront to the bullpen. Workman has posted a 3.21 ERA over five starts this season. He last pitched June 15 against Cleveland, allowing two runs and five hits over six innings. He hasn't pitched in a while because his six-game suspension ended Tuesday. It took that long for an appeal to be heard on Workman's role in an altercation with the Tampa Bay Rays on May 30 at Fenway Park. Workman hasn't faced the Yankees this season.

For New York, it's left-hander Vidal Nuno (1-4, 5.88), and he might  not be long for the rotation. He's one of those injury fill-ins. There was some talk that Nuno might be replaced in the rotation by Adam Warren, and he probably will be if Nuno struggles again here. In his last two starts, both blowout Yankee losses, Nuno has allowed a total of 13 runs and 14 hits (five home runs) over 9.1 innings. His ERA is the fourth-highest in baseball among pitchers who have made at least 12 starts. Nuno has given up 15 home runs in only 67.1 innings. A whopping 13 of those have come in 39.1 innings at Yankee Stadium. That's the most home runs allowed by a pitcher in his home park in all of baseball. So, yeah, I'd recommend a few Red Sox home run props among your MLB Picks for this Friday.

MLB free picks: Lean Red Sox regardless of where the moneyline closes as Nuno has been a disaster. 'Over' 9 runs. Boston is 1-6 in its past seven against lefties. New York has won five of its past six series openers. It is 0-6 in Nuno's past six home starts. The 'over' has hit in eight of Boston's past 10 against lefties.

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