By: Ron Patrick
Boston has taken the first two games of this series, after Saturday's 5-1 victory. The Red Sox got eight innings of three-hit ball from starter Jon Lester in winning as -155 favorites on the MLB odds board.
Boston still leads the AL East by 8.5 games over Tampa, while New York now trails those same Rays by three games in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.
So the Sox, who now lead this season series 12 games to six, shoot for the sweep Sunday night (8:05 pm ET, ESPN).
Sunday's Betting Line
As of Sunday morning most books were listing Boston and Clay Buchholz at around -165 over New York and Ivan Nova, with a total of 8.5. The Sox were also getting around +120 on the run line.
Sunday's Pitching Match-Up
Buchholz (10-0, 1.61) will be making his second start since coming off the DL last week. In his first start back on Tuesday he held Tampa scoreless through five innings of work, then was pulled because of a pitch count. He's liable to go a little further Sunday night.
On the season Buchholz is 10-for-13 on quality starts, allowing just 60 hits in 89 innings, walking 39 and striking out 87.
Boston is 12-1 in Buchholz' starts this year, which according to our calculations is pretty good.
In two starts earlier this season against the Yankees Buchholz held them to one run and eight hits through 12 innings; the Sox won both those games.
Nova (8-4, 3.17) is 9-for-17 on quality starts this year. Last time out, five days ago against Toronto, he gave up four runs through six innings, then was pulled because of a tight triceps. Apparently, he's good to go for today.
For the season Nova has allowed 115 hits in 119 innings, walked 38 and whiffed 102.
New York is 11-6 in Nova's starts this year.
In his one start this season against the Red Sox Nova gave up three runs in four innings of a 9-8 Yankees loss 10 days ago.
Our Take on Sunday's Game
Boston is on another of those rolls, and Buchholz looked good in his return to the mound last time out. So we're not going to over-think this one; we'll go with the Sox for our free pick for Sunday.
By: Ron Patrick
Boston took Game 1 of this series Friday night 8-4, getting a tie-breaking grand slam from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the bottom of the seventh for the winning margin.
The Sox won as -130 favorites on Friday's betting line, and the game played OVER its total of 8.5.
With the loss New York dropped to two games behind Tampa in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.
Game 2 of this series is slated for Saturday afternoon (1:05 pm ET, Fox)
Saturday's Betting Line
As of Saturday morning, most sportsbooks were chalking Boston and Jon Lester at around -155 over New York and CC Sabathia, with a total of 8.5. The Sox could also be gotten at around +125 on the run line.
Saturday's Pitching Match-Up
Lester (13-8, 3.86) is 15-for-30 on quality starts this season, and working on a string of seven in a row.
Last time out he gave up three runs in eight innings against these Yankees, and over his last seven starts he's allowed 11 ER in 50 innings.
On the season Lester has given up 192 hits in 193 innings, walked 61 and whiffed 160.
Boston is 17-13 in Lester's starts this year.
In three starts already this year against the Yankees Lester has allowed nine ER and 21 hits in 19 1/3 innings; the Sox lost two of those three games.
Sabathia (13-12, 4.82) is 14-for-30 on quality starts this season. Last time out he gave up four runs – three earned – in 7 1/3 innings vs. the Orioles, and just before that he gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings vs. the White Sox.
But since the All-Star break Sabby has allowed five or more runs in five of his 10 starts.
On the season Sabathia has permitted more hits, 208, than innings pitched, 198, walked 58 and struck out 166.
The Yankees are 16-14 in Sabby's starts this year.
In four starts already this year against Boston Sabathia has allowed 18 ER and 30 hits in 22 2/3 innings; New York managed to split those four games.
Our Take on Saturday's Game
We give Lester the edge in the pitching match-up, and Boston has the edge with the bats. So we'll go with the Red Sox for our free MLB pick for Saturday.
Friday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
The New York Yankees probably won't catch the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race, but a recent surge has pulled them to within one game of a playoff spot.
Can the Yanks keep up the chase? Or can Boston do some damage to the playoff hopes of its hated rivals?
Friday's Betting Lines
As of early Friday AM most MLB betting shops were listing Boston and John Lackey at around -140 over New York and Hiroki Kuroda, with a total of 9.5 posted on the MLB odds boards.
Yanks-Sox Series Set-Up
New York just took three of four games in Baltimore this week, winning Thursday 6-5 on a wild pitch in the ninth inning. The Yankees have won three of their last four series, going 9-5.
Boston just took two of three games in Tampa, losing Thursday 4-3. The Sox have now won seven series in a row.
So Boston, at 89-59, lead the AL East by 8.5 games over Tampa and 9.5 games over the Yankees.
The Sox also lead Oakland by three games in the battle for the best record in the American League.
New York, meanwhile, trails the Rays by just one game in the fight for the second American League wild-card spot.
Boston leads this season series 10 games to six, with the totals going 9-7. Just last week the Sox took three of four from the Yanks at the Stadium, scoring 37 runs in the four games.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
John Lackey (9-12, 3.48), by our tough accounting, is 17-for-26 on quality starts this season, and four for his last five. Last time out, against these same Yankees, Lackey got knocked around for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings, but over his four starts previous to that he had given up nine ER in 29 1/3 innings.
For the season Lackey has allowed 164 hits in 168 innings, walked 37 and struck out 145.
Boston is only 12-14 in Lackey's starts this year, but most of that has to do with some poor run support.
Lackey has already started three times against the Yankees this year, giving up 12 ER and 24 hits in 18 2/3 innings; the Sox won two of those three games.
Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99) is 17-for-29 on quality starts this year, but only one for his last five. Last time out he held these same Sox to two runs through six innings, but in his four starts previous to that he had been tagged for 19 ER in 23 innings.
On the season Kuroda has allowed 170 hits in 184 innings, walked 35 and struck out 136.
New York is 16-13 in Kuroda's starts this year.
Kuroda has already started five times against Boston this season, giving up 12 ER and 33 hits in 25 1/3 innings; the Yanks lost three of those five games.
The totals have leaned toward the UNDERS in Lackey and Kuroda's starts this year by a combined 41-11 margin.
In the battle between the bullpens for this series New York ranks 15th with a 3.57 ERA and is 47-for-60 on save opportunities, while Boston ranks 17th with a 3.59 ERA and is 31-for-53 on save opps.
Yanks-Sox With the Sticks
New York ranks 21st in team OBP at .312, 19th in homers with 135, fifth in stolen bases with 111 and 15th in scoring at 4.2 runs per game.
Boston ranks second in OBP at .348, seventh in homers with 161, fourth in swipes with 113 and first in scoring at 5.2 RPG.
Yanks-Sox Betting Trends
New York is only 35-37 on the road this season.
Boston is 47-25 at home this year.
The OVER/UNDERS are 31-37 in games played at Fenway Park this season.
The Yanks are only two games above .500, 50-48, against right-handers this year.
The Sox are 18 games above .500, 58-40, vs. righties.
Yanks-Sox Injury Update
New York lead-off hitter Brett Gardner tweaked an oblique Thursday, and early reports indicate he will miss at least this series.
Boston is also without its lead-off hitter, with Jacoby Ellsbury on the the DL with a broken bone in his foot.
Our Take on Friday's Game
We'll call the pitching match-up a wash; the Sox own the edge with the bats, but they're missing Ellsbury; and the Yanks own a short advantage in the bullpens. To be honest we don't know who's going to win this game. So for our free sports pick for Friday we'll look toward the total, and go with the UNDER.Pick: Take the UNDER 9.5 runs at the -110 offered at Heritage.