After months of being a terrible choice for MLB picks (or good if you went the other way), Boston has upped their game and can become a real factor in the American League East race.
The Red Sox have won eight of 10 and while they remain in last place in the division, they are a mere six games behind first place New York. Those who have worked the MLB odds on this encounter will be able to watch if they so choose on the MLB Network.
Anybody making MLB picks is aware these two are tied at 22-all since 2013 and there is a distinctiveness to the outcome. They are either very close or not at all, with 10 games decided by one run and a whopping 29 determined by three or more runs. What should you look for in the series opener, keep reading!
New York has won five of seven to reclaim first place in the AL East. The Yankees offense is driven principally by three players. Brett Gardner leads the regular starters with .303 batting average and he's shown more pop in the bat this season with 10 home runs and has a .490 slugging percentage. Mark Teixeira's .244 batting average is not much, but he's come up big all season when needed and leads the AL in rbi's with 62. Lastly and most surprisingly is Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod has been hitting around .280 most of the season, has a slugging percentage of nearly .500 (.498) and has rolled back the clock about five years at 39. If the Yankees are to win this game and series, chances are these three players will have something to do with it.
Red Sox Report
On June 20th Boston was a season-worst 10 games back in the division and talk was manager John Farrell was on the hot seat. The off-season acquisitions were not working and the Red Sox were looking like the AL version of the Phillies. Though Boston has several veteran players and leaders, the resurgence, at least offensively, has been lead by the young players.
Mookie Betts is hitting .333 in his last nine games and Xander Bogaerts is tearing it up at .433 with eight rbi's over a seven-game hitting streak. While David Ortiz and Mike Napoli have not been as effective as in the past, they are still capable and though Hanley Ramirez might not be a left-fielder, he has hit 18 homers and appears more comfortable at the plate.
Pineda vs. Buchholz
Michael Pineda (8-5, 3.79 ERA) gets the call for New York and after a couple rough outings he's turned it around and looked more like the pitcher he was early in the season. Pineda threw seven shutout innings against Tampa Bay last Saturday and conceded only two earned runs in eight innings prior to that versus Houston. The right-hander has mid-90's fastball, cutter and when on his game, a wipeout slider. He's split four games with the BoSox and has 5.40 ERA against them.
What can you say about Clay Buchholz(7-6, 3.27). His start to the season was so awful sports talk radio and websites in New England were calling for him to be traded or at the very least pulled from the rotation. His pitching was brutal and his body language was worse. But in typical Buchholz fashion, he completely turned his season around and has posted an 0.87 ERA in winning four straight starts and is 5-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his last seven trips to mound. He's less even-keeled than most starting pitchers, but when he gets into grooves like this baseball handicappers have to ride him. However, he's always has problems with the Yankees with a 5-8 record (Red Sox 5-11 in his 16 starts) and a skanky 6.38 ERA.
Betting Odds and Outcome
Sportsbooks like Wagerweb.ag, home of the guaranteed next day payout, have betting odds positioning Boston as -115 favorites with a Un8 (-120) total. In looking at this confrontation, I could come up with 20 logical reasons why to back New York and could be happy with that decision. Nonetheless, I have two particular systems which have worked exceeding well all year and Boston fits both of them and with the confidence Buchholz is displaying, I'll choose the Red Sox in Game 1.
Free Pick - Boston -115 at 5Dimes.