By: Ron Patrick
MLB Picks: Yankees vs. Red Sox
The Red Sox and Yankees have split the three-game series so far but where does the value lie in our MLB odds for the rubber game of this storied rivalry?
New York Yankees (63-59, +1.20 units)
Alfonso Soriano continued his assault on opposition pitchers yesterday when he notched a pair of singles in four at-bats but drew no blood as the Yankees were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and dropped the second game of this three-game set by the score of 6-1. Today the Bombers will send CC Sabathia to the hill as he attempts to shutdown the AL East leaders and draw his club closer to the top.
Sabathia has struggled this season but he is hoping his last outing on Tuesday night against the Angels is a good omen. Though he tied his career high of walking six, he surrendered just two earned runs on three hits in six innings of work. The Yankees went on to win that slugfest 14-7 but New York's "ace" is in Boston tonight and things have not gone his way against the Sox recently. Sabathia is 3-4 with a 6.51 ERA over his last nine starts against Boston and the last time he appeared in Fenway things were far from friendly. Sabathia was torched for seven earned runs in only five innings of work back on July 21st when his team lost an 8-7 extra innings affair to their arch-rivals.
Boston Red Sox (73-52, +10.05)
David Ortiz smashed his team leading 24th dinger last night, Jacoby Ellsbury drove in two RBI's and Dustin Pedroia turned 30-years-old. Though the talented second baseman may have celebrated after the game there was no celebrating during the game as he was 0-5 including two strikeouts and injured his foot in the 8th inning after he fouled a ball off his foot. Though the injury doesn't appear to be serious, manager John Farrell may use it as an excuse to give Pedroia a breather in tonight's game.
Ryan Dempster toes the slab for the Red Sox and the former Cub hopes he can duplicate his efforts from earlier this week when he allowed just one earned run against the Blue Jays over seven full innings. Thanks to his bullpen Dempster got a no-decision in that game though the Red Sox did ultimately prevail 4-2. It was his first one-run outing since early May and his teammates are counting on more strong starts from the back of the rotation. Dempster's last appearance against the Yanks was on July 21st when he surrendered three runs on six hits in an 8-7 Boston victory.
If I'm looking at the starters in today's game I have to feel much better backing CC Sabathia in my MLB picks than Ryan Dempster. Sure Dempster looked sharp in his last start against the Jays but allowing only one run in an outing is the exception not the norm for Dempster as he currently sits as the most overpaid starter in a league where the term overpaid starters is almost an oxymoron.
Dempster is 0-5 when starting against the Yankees and has an ERA of a whopping 6.98 and a WHIP that sits at 1.99. Factor into the equation that Mike Napoli, who has fared very well against the Yankees recently, will probably continue to sit and perhaps even Pedroia will get the day off as well. I get the fact that Sabathia has been abused by the Red Sox recently but he is simply too good to remain that bad. The only thing I like about the Red Sox today is the location of the park they'll be playing in. Other than that, I like everything about New York today including the fact that they are currently being dealt by Bet365.com in MLB odds as a +114 underdog.
While I would never go big on any game between these two ancient adversaries the side to back in your MLB sports pick should be the visiting club.
By: Ron Patrick
New York Yankees (63-58, +2.20 units)
Alfonso Soriano continued his torrid pace last night going 3 for 4 at the plate and blasting a three-run shot over the fence to lead the Yankees to a 10-3 victory over their ancient rivals. But as good as Soriano was, the Yankees have to be just as pleased that starter Andy Pettitte finally got on track and exited the first inning unscathed. Pettitte has surrendered at least one run over the course of his last eight outings before last night.
Okay, so the Yankees have captured the first of a three-game set and this afternoon send Hiroki Kuroda to the hill whose last start was an unmitigated success when he pitched his way through eight frames, allowed only three hits and blanked the Angels en route to a 2-1 Yankees victory. In addition, Kuroda looked sharp in his last Fenway appearance, when he was installed as a +140 underdog in MLB odds, as he scattered five hits and surrendered two runs as he led New York to a 5-2 win over the Sox and John Lackey whom he will oppose this afternoon.
Boston Red Sox (72-52, +9.05)
Well lo and behold Boston is officially mired in a bit of a slump having dropped their last three and six of their last eight. Felix Doubront was torched for seven runs - six earned - as he allowed more than three runs for only the second time all season. The offensive fireworks were as much a nod to a white hot Yankee lineup as it was to an erratic Doubront.
It was not a good night on the mound, at the batter's box or even in the field for the Red Sox last night as they committed three errors and struggled throughout. Tonight they will send veteran John Lackey to the bump, hoping he can turn things around for a team that is clinging to a slim lead in the AL East.
Lackey has not won since July 12th and has been tagged with a loss in his two previous starts. When we last saw the veteran righty he allowed four runs on seven hits and worked seven full innings in a 4-3 loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
In the interest of full disclosure I am not a big John Lackey fan. His tenure as a member of the Boston Red Sox has been fraught with injuries and underwhelming performances. He is exactly that pitcher who got outdueled by Hiroki Kuroda on July 20th as a -150 favorite when he got tagged for 10 hits and four runs in a 5-2 loss. This is who he is and who he has been since he signed a big money deal to pitch for the Red Sox. He won't get drilled early on but he will slowly bleed away four or five runs and get pulled from the game after six or seven innings.
Now that's not entirely bad if he's on the backend of your rotation and chewing up innings for short money. But this guy is making almost $16 million to pitch like a journeyman. Though he has pitched well at home this season with a 4-2 record and an eyebrow-arching 2.15 ERA he is going up against a lineup that believes they can do no wrong. Even Mark Reynolds, who was just released by the Indians and signed by the Yanks, caught the hitting bug the moment he put on pinstripes last night and rocketed a two-run shot over the Monstah.
As I review the MLB odds it's hard for me to avoid the better pitcher and the hotter lineup. I will name pitchers in this one and root for the visitors.
Friday Series Opener
By: Swinging Johnson
For a breakdown of today's games, check out today's Daily Baseball Betting Lines & Odds Report!
New York Yankees (62-58, +0.60 units)
The Bombers had their modest four-game winning streak snapped last night as the LA Angels defeated their hosts 8-4. Alfonso Soriano continues to be white hot as he collected four hits in five at-bats and single-handedly torched the Angels with four homeruns and 14 RBI's over the course of the three-game set with LA.
New York will trot out veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte who has had his problems recently. Pettitte is winless in his last five starts and has an ERA above five. One of his major issues has been his inability to get out of the first inning unscathed. He has given up at least a run in his last eight starts and has an ERA of 16.88 in the opening frame during that time. Pettitte was fortunate in his last outing against the Tigers when he allowed eight hits and walked three yet escaped by surrendering only one run in 4 1/3 innings. The Yankees won that game 5-4.
Boston Red Sox (72-51, +10.85 units)
For a team that is amongst the league leaders in most of the major offensive categories they certainly looked anything but impressive in their last two games, both losses, against the Blue Jays. The Sox suffered a power outage again last night as they left Toronto as 2-1 losers but hope to rekindle some of their prolific power in Fenway tonight.
Boston will send its own lefty to the bump tonight as Felix Doubront hopes to continue his winning ways over the pin-stripers tonight. Doubront has handled the Yankees with relative ease as evidenced by his 2-0 record complemented by a 1.46 ERA against them this season. In Doubront's last trip to the mound he surrendered three runs in only four innings of work but escaped with a no-decision in Boston's 5-3 decision over the Royals.
If the Red Sox are to snap out of that offensive funk then they will need David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury to replicate the success they have had against Andy Pettitte. Ellsbury has a .370 batting average while Ortiz is hitting the veteran lefty at a .359 clip.
Boston is 6-3 (+2.8 units) overall in MLB picks and hold a 2-1 (0.5 units) advantage at Fenway against the Yanks this season. The starting pitchers in this one make this a pretty simple sports pick in my opinion. Doubront has owned the Yankees and is quite frankly a far better hurler than Pettitte at this stage of his advanced career.
Of course Alfonso Soriano has been tearing the cover off the ball but I will side with the number one producing offense of the Boston Red Sox than hide in fear of a single slugger who's gone nuclear. In the last meeting between these two clubs the Red Sox were -140 favorite in MLB odds over the Yankees on July 21st in an 8-7 Red Sox victory.
Incidentally that was the only win of the six over the Yankees that was decided by only one run. That is important because as I peruse the MLB odds I am reluctant to lay -180 on Doubront and the Red Sox particularly because I'm unsure if the Sox will regain their offensive stride. That being said, the Sox are the better team this season, have the better pitcher in Doubront who has owned the Yankees throughout his career and face an aging starter in Pettitte who is prone to giving up runs in the first inning which would set the stage for a Boston barrage.
If the Red Sox bats show up, they will win this one by more than a run. If they don't, they could lose another close one like they did last night. We say Doubront gets plenty of run support as Pettitte gets lit up.
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