MLB Picks: Red Sox vs. Yankees Series Coverage

Willie Bee

Friday, June 27, 2014 3:01 PM UTC

Friday, Jun. 27, 2014 3:01 PM UTC

Prime-time TV broadcasts will sweep the weekend series between the Red Sox and Yankees, and SBR will also sweep the set with game previews and free MLB picks.


29th June
Red Sox vs. Yankees Game 3

By: Willie Bee


Masahiro Tanaka went the distance for the third time this season with a complete game performance for the New York Yankees on Saturday. It still wasn't enough to beat Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox who evened up this set with a 2-1 victory.

A pair of solo dingers were the only mistakes Tanaka made, Mike Napoli's 2-out blast in the ninth serving as the game-winner for Boston. But New York batters never could figure out Lester, the only run charged to his ledger set up by one of two Stephen Drew errors.

The series-leveling victory by the Red Sox means ESPN has a rubber game on its hands for Sunday Night Baseball (8 PM ET) when veteran John Lackey toes the rubber for Boston opposite New York rookie Chase Whitley. The game is priced as a pick 'em at many sports books listed on SBR's live MLB odds, with 8.5 runs the consensus total.

Whitley Facing Red Sox For 1st Time
Like most Boston hurlers, Lackey hasn't received enough offensive support for his W-L record to reflect how well he has performed overall in 2014. The Red Sox are 9-7 with the Texan on the mound despite respectable 3.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP figures, and he leads the rotation with 12 quality starts.

Lackey is coming off a poor outing in Seattle this past Monday (3.2 IP, 7 ER) and one of this other bad starts came at Yankee Stadium in mid-April ( 5.2 IP, 4 HR). That loss left him 1-2 in four Bronx starts since joining the Red Sox, his ERA over 8.00.

Whitley was also taken to the woodshed and given a good beating in his last start, an 8-3 setback in Toronto on Monday when the rookie surrendered all of the Blue Jays' runs before being sent to the showers in the fourth. He'll have ESPN's bright lights on him tonight to add pressure to his first appearance in the Boston-New York rivalry.

Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Mark Wegner has failed to provide baseball bettors with any tendencies on the total in his first 14 plate assignments of the season, the 17-year veteran umpire bringing a 6-7-1 (O/U/P) into Sunday's scrape.  He has however shown a strong trend for wagers on visiting underdogs at 8-4 in that column.

We've got no issues with the weather in this one with mostly clear skies, temps in the mid-to-low 70s and an 8-12 mph wind from the south (right to left). My primary issue is with a couple of underachieving offenses that rank near the bottom of the AL. Boston's lineup has been especially slow recently, though we'll tip our hat to Tanaka more for Saturday's outcome. The Yankees' lineup has simply been inconsistent all season.

The 'under' is on a good run in this series at Yankee Stadium, but I'm bucking that trend with a free pick on the 'over.'

My Free MLB Pick: Red Sox-Yankees Over 8.5 (+105)

Season: 77-76 (+1.55)

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28th June
Red Sox vs. Yankees Game 2

By: Willie Bee


Remember what I said yesterday about there not being much to get excited about in this weekend's series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees?  Well forget it, because we have a top-notch pitching matchup for Game 2 of the set.

World Cup Fever may be gripping much of the planet right now, but FOX should have a big crowd tuning into Saturday's broadcast at 7 PM (ET).  Jon Lester and Masahiro Tanaka collide for the second time this year, and it's Tanaka who is hogging respect on the MLB odds board as -160 chalk with a 7 run total for scoreboard bettors.

The Yankees popped three home runs Friday while Vidal Nuno and the bullpen blanked Boston on three hits in a 6-0 final.  It was the 6th-straight road series opener the Red Sox have lost, thanks in large part to an offense plating less than 2.5 RPG the last 13 games.

Can Struggling Sox Hitters Break Out Against Tanaka?
Boston has emerged victorious in Lester's last three assignments, twice as a decided favorite and most recently as a small 'dog in Oakland on Sunday.  The lefty didn't get that win, leaving with a 6-3 lead before Red Sox relievers allowed the A's to tie it and force Boston to earn an extra-inning decision.

Lester beat CC Sabathia and the Yanks on their home turf back in April, working into the seventh and striking out six during a 4-2 Red Sox win.  That leaves Boston 6-4 in Lester's last 10 Bronx starts, a couple of rough outings accounting for most of his 4.75 ERA in that stretch.

Tanaka is coming off just his second loss -- and New York's third -- in his first 15 major league assignments.  Two of them have come against the Orioles, and the rookie has still yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start.  Tanaka beat Lester and the Red Sox at Fenway on April 22, pitching into the eighth with seven K's of a 9-3 rout in the only game this season that Tanaka was an underdog (+105).

Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Lovers of home chalk adore umpire Andy Fletcher so far in 2014. With 16 plate assignments under his belt, home favorites churning at a 12-4 rate and a perfect 6-0 when the moneyline is -140 or higher. The Memphis native worked a Red Sox-Yankees game in New York last September, the 4-3 win for the home team never reaching the total.

New York hitters rained long balls on Boston hurlers Friday night, but the good news is there won't be any actual rain Saturday night in the Big Apple. Temps in the low-to-mid 70s should rule from first pitch through the end of the game, the wind expected to be from the south (right to left) at 6-10 mph.

Conventional thinking is if the Sox couldn't hit Nuno on Friday, how in the world are they going to score enough runs to beat Tanaka tonight? Count me among conventional thinkers with my free pick on New York's run line.

My Free MLB Pick: Yankees -1.5 (+130)
Season: 76-75 (+1.10)

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27th June
Red Sox vs. Yankees Game 1

By: Willie Bee


Maybe it's the fact we're not getting a 1-2 matchup in the AL East as so often is the case when they meet. Perhaps it is because their previous clashes have been overhyped to the point of the excitement having already been sucked out of me by various networks and on-line sites. Whatever the case, this weekend's clash in New York between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox arrives with a bit of apathy on my part.

That's doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to finding ways to make some money beating the MLB odds the next three days. Each game is getting prime-time treatment from three different networks, beginning with Friday's lid-lifter in the Bronx where the MLB Network begins its broadcast at 7 PM (ET).

Another possible reason for the lack of excitement may be a very plain-Jane duel on the mound with Boston's Brandon Workman facing Vidal Nuno on the New York side. MLB odds for the fracas are just about a pick 'em, the Red Sox ever-so-slightly favored at several sports books, and a 9 run total leaning 'under.'

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Sox 25-25 At House That George Built
Only Tampa Bay (-29.4 units) and Arizona (-15.6 units) have been bigger drains on a bettor's bankroll than Boston (36-43, -13.4 units, 30-46-3 O/U/P) this season. The Red Sox spent the last week on the West Coast where they dropped three of four in Oakland and two of three in Seattle. Seven teams in the American League have winning road records, but Boston isn't one of them at 16-24 away from home (-9.1 units).

New York (40-37, -0.7 units, 35-42 O/U) is one of those seven AL squads doing well on the highway, the Yankees standing 23-19 away from the Bronx. The problem is they're a game under .500 at home (17-18) as they prepare to begin this 6-game stand before departing to Minnesota, Cleveland and Baltimore leading up to the All-Star break.

Tonight's collision is No. 2,145 all-time in the series, a little shy of the Yankees-Orioles rivalry as far as most regular season AL games go (2,155). The Yanks own a solid .543 winning percentage overall, and even stronger .586 (621-438) in New York. The teams are dead level, however, in the 50 games they've played at new Yankee Stadium.

It's the third meeting this season, and second in New York where the Yankees took three of four on the second weekend of the schedule back in April. They followed that up by taking two of three in Boston a couple of weeks later, a couple of those contests sailing past the total after three of the four in the Bronx never made it to the scoreboard hurdle.

Nuno To Get First Real Taste Of Rivalry
Workman made the Red Sox as a reliever out of spring training, but was quickly shipped to Triple-A Pawtucket to stretch out as a starter before being recalled in late-May. The Texas native has since made five starts and performed better in the big leagues with a 2.88 ERA compared to a 5.12 mark in the minors. He wasn't around the previous two series with the Yankees, and his only experience against them came in the form of three relief appearances last year (3 IP, 2 ER, 4 K).

Nuno also began his year in the bullpen, but was forced into New York's rotation early thanks to several injuries to front-line starters. Three of the five wins the Yankees have against Boston in 2014 came with CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda on the mound, just to give you an idea. The California southpaw will be facing the Red Sox for the first time in his brief career when he climbs the hill Friday evening.

The weatherman isn't expecting any trouble for Game 1 or the rest of the weekend. Mostly clear skies are expected at first pitch with temps in the mid-70s and a light southerly breeze (right to left).

Nuno has been awful at Yankee Stadium, resulting in six straight losses at home for the pinstriped posse. But my confidence in Boston is waning, at best, so I'm turning to the total for my free MLB pick with a play on the 'under' in this one.

My pick: Red Sox-Yankees Under 9
Season: 74-75 (-0.90)

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