The Red Sox will not be entering the postseason but are playing as if they are. The Yankees have dropped the first two of this set. What do the MLB odds say about their chances tonight?
Boston Red Sox (78-80, -2.5 units)
Mookie Betts launched two home runs last night which led to a 9-5 extra innings victory over their hosts the New York Yankees. The Sox have now won four in a row including the first two games against their arch-rivals in New York. This is a starkly different team than the one that entered the season with the hype as the new Murderer's Row featuring freshly minted free agent acquisitions Hanley Ramirez and the Kung-Fu Panda himself, Pablo Sandoval. Boston was supposed to be the team to beat in the AL East and though their pitching was suspect their lineup was lethal...or so we thought.
Fast forward to July 30th and the season is sinking like the Titanic. Hanley Ramirez has been an unmitigated disaster in left field and Pablo Sandoval looks like he's more concerned with extra helpings than extra bases. To compound the many problems swirling around this major league train wreck was the announcement a few weeks later by manager John Farrell that he had lymphoma and would be taking the rest of the season off to battle his disease.
Yet, the closing chapter of this bleak 2015 season looks like it will turn out much better than the rest. The Red Sox have gone 34-22 since July 30th and it is not coincidental that since interim manager Torey Lovullo has given the talented crop of youngsters in their organization a chance to show off, baseball in Boston has become fun again.
New York Yankees (86-72, +2.1 units)
The Yankees were hoping to celebrate a wild card berth last night but their bullpen decided to delay the festivities for at least another day. On a night when the MLB odds makers made the Pinstripers -170 betting favorites New York watched their guests, the Boston Red Sox, spoil the party in 11 innings. The Yankees dropped to 65-3 when leading after six innings, left 15 on base and were 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Despite walking 11 times and getting ample opportunity to shut the door, Boston hung tough and ultimately prevailed.
Tonight the Yankees will look to veteran CC Sabathia to contain the Boston offense and claim a spot in the postseason as a wild-card entrant. Sabathia's season has not been what he or the organization had hoped as he brings a 5-10 record and a 4.82 ERA into tonight's contest. However, recently he has rounded into form after coming off the DL on September 9th and is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts.
Journeyman Rich Hill has pitched well in his three starts for Boston allowing only three earned runs in those three combined. But this is a 35-year-old who has been spent much of his time recently in the minors after getting signed, released, rinse and repeat. I believe the Bombers will get to him as they are eager to lock down a spot in the playoffs and take the rest of the season off, short as it may be.
As of this writing the MLB odds are not up on this one and therefore it is difficult to evaluate which side has betting value which would influence my MLB picks for this AL East showdown. Yet, I think it is fair to say that the way Sabathia has been pitching and the manner in which their offense clicked last night even in defeat, coupled with the possibility of clinching in front of their fans makes the Yankees difficult to overlook as long as the MLB odds are within reason.
MLB Pick: Play the Yankees -139 at Pinnacle