Yankees vs. Red Sox Game 3
By: Willie Bee
You never have to look far to find subplots in any game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and Thursday's series finale at Fenway Park certainly continues that tradition.
A couple of lefthanders hoping to build off their most recent outings match up for the 7:10 PM (ET) finale in Beantown. New York sends CC Sabathia to the bump while Boston counters with Felix Doubront, and the moneyline shifted sides overnight.
The Yankees opened as very slight favorites for the rubber game of the series, but that has swung around to the Red Sox laying -115 to -125 chalk. The total has settled at 8.5 runs, 'over' -115 at most shops charted by SBR's live MLB odds.
Fenway should be buzzing tonight after Yankees hurler Michael Pineda was ejected Wednesday for having pine tar on his neck. The 'foreign substance' certainly wasn't helping Pineda against the Boston lineup during his brief stay on the mound, and the Red Sox evened the series with a solid 5-1 decision behind John Lackey.
Can CC Quiet Crowd
With Strong Early Performance?
Sabathia is coming off a solid effort at Tampa Bay a week ago, evening his record with seven innings of work while allowing just one earned run. The Yankee lineup spotted him a nice early lead in one of the best offensive performances for New York this season.
He was cruising along when he faced the Red Sox in New York on April 11, holding Boston scoreless through five innings before the fatal sixth. Home runs by Jonny Gomes and Grady Sizemore, the latter a 3-run shot, did Sabathia in, and keeping balls in the park has been an issue with six clouts allowed in his first 26 frames.
Sox Look To Escape AL
Doubront has started two Boston victories, both against the Orioles. He didn't get the dubya last Saturday in Boston's 4-2 win over Baltimore, but pitched well allowing five hits, two runs and striking out seven before being lifted in the seventh with the score tied.
Between those outings were a pair of losses to the Rangers and the Yankees. Texas knocked him around in the April 8 contest at Fenway, scoring five times before Doubront headed to the showers in the third. He didn't pitch badly in the setback at New York five days later (6.1 IP, 3 ER), but was constantly working out of jams thanks to allowing seven hits and three walks.
If you watched Wednesday's contest, you know how windy it was inside Fenway Park. It's going to be the same Thursday with 20-25 mph NW winds (left to right) and the low-50s on the thermometer. Phil Cuzzi (2-3 O/U) will call the balls and strikes.
I've got little to no faith in either of tonight's pitchers and lean to the high side of the total. My stronger feeling, however, is that Boston outscores New York, so I'm making my free MLB pick on the home team.
My pick: Red Sox -120
Yankees vs. Red Sox Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Maybe Red Sox fans should boo Grady Sizemore -- or whoever else Boston manager John Farrell bats leadoff. It sure turned out well for Jacoby Ellsbury and the New York Yankees in Tuesday's series opener between the rivals.
Helped along by Red Sox errors, New York grabbed a 9-3 win in Game 1 to maintain its hold on first in the AL East. Ellsbury got the ball rolling for the Yankees with a leadoff triple in the first, added a 2-run double in the fifth to chase Jon Lester from the mound, and Masahiro Tanaka pitched into the eighth to move to 3-0 on the season.
Boston now tries to even the series Wednesday when ESPN's cameras are on hand for the 7 PM (ET) contest. First pitch should be delivered by John Lackey about 10 minutes past the hour, and the Red Sox are favored in the -115 to -120 range after opening a bit higher.
Michael Pineda follows Lackey to the bump in the bottom of the first, and SBR's live baseball odds show 8.5 for the total, juiced a tad more to the 'over.'
Yanks Cruising With 7
Wins In Last 9
It's difficult to find a more consistent or better pitcher in the first few weeks than Pineda. The big righthander has worked six innings in each of his three starts, allowed five hits or less and no more than one run crossing the plate in any outing.
One of those starts came against the Red Sox on April 10 that is best known for the accusations of Pineda having a foreign substance on his pitching hand. His only mistake was a 7th-inning leadoff homer by Boston's Daniel Nava, and Pineda whiffed seven would-be Red Sox hitters to earn his first win as a Yankee.
Sox Still Struggling At Home With 4-7 Record
Lackey is seeing the Yankees for a second time this season, and hopes he can keep the ball in the park unlike his April 12 assignment in New York. The Bronx Bombers lived up to their nickname with four long balls -- 2 by Brian McCann -- and scored six times before running Lackey off the mound in the sixth.
He also surrendered six runs without completing the sixth inning in his subsequent start last Friday vs. the Orioles. Lackey was touched for 10 hits by the Baltimore lineup, and issued four free passes in that 8-4 setback.
There's a little rain in the Boston forecast during the day, and a lot of wind expected this evening (NW 20-24 mph, left to right). The Red Sox are now just 4-7 at Fenway, but maybe having umpire Gerry Davis behind the dish will help things out since home teams are 4-1 with the veteran arbiter calling balls and strikes.
I don't like the way Lackey has been pitching, but don't want to play against the Red Sox. So I'm sending my free MLB pick out on the high side of the total.
My pick: Yankees-Red Sox Over 8.5 (-115)
Season: 19-21 (-3.15)
Yankees vs. Red Sox Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Red Sox fans in attendance Tuesday when Boston begins a 3-game series with the New York Yankees are going to be treated to a couple of sights they've never seen before.
The second meeting between the clubs this season is set for a 7:10 PM (ET) start, with Boston's Jon Lester delivering the game's first official toss. Taking the hill in the bottom of the initial frame will be Masahiro Tanaka, who is making his first start against the Red Sox and giving Boston faithful their first look at last winter's biggest free agent pitcher.
We saw the Red Sox go out as high as -130 chalk for this contest, but SBR's live MLB odds now has this game close to a pick 'em with Boston only slightly favored. A 7.5 run total priced to the 'under' also awaits bettors.
Jacoby Ellsbury will present another new spectacle for Red Sox fans with the former Boston star appearing at Fenway Park for the first time since inking a new free agent contract with New York in the offseason. Expect a few cheers, but for the boos to drown those out.
The two old rivals met about two weeks ago in New York where the Yankees took three of four, 'under' bettors also cashing three games that series. The Red Sox won six of nine at Fenway last season, the 'over' being the winning play in five of the contests.
Yanks Hit Beantown
With Slim Lead In AL East
New York (11-8, +2.3 units) enjoyed Monday off in advance of this series, and Joe Girardi's bullpen welcomed the rest. The Yankees left Tampa Bay with a split in their 4-game set vs. the Rays, and the relief corps was called upon often in the final three games of the series, including seven innings of work in Sunday's 12-inning finale.
There was good news and bad news for New York while in Tampa. The good news was seeing 1B Mark Teixeira return from a stint on the DL due to a hamstring injury; the bad was watching starting pitcher Ivan Nova head to the DL with an elbow ligament tear.
Tanaka has been outstanding in his first three starts for New York, the Yankees winning two of them. He is coming off his second consecutive 10-K performance last Wednesday when he 2-hit the Cubs over eight innings in a 2-0 victory. The 25-year-old righthander already has 28 strikeouts in his first 22 big league innings, walking only two in that span.
Red Sox Fall Short In
Emotional Patriots Day Matchup
Baltimore spoiled the annual Patriots Day matchup in Boston (9-11, -5.3 units), the Orioles building an early 6-zip lead the Red Sox couldn't quite recover from in a 7-6 setback. That left the Sox with a split in their weekend series vs. the O's, an emotional set given it marked the one-year anniversary of the bombings during the Boston Marathon. Manager John Farrell's job will now be to get his club to turn the page from all that, and it shouldn't be hard with the Yankees in town.
Lester has back-to-back wins after beginning the season with a pair of tough-luck losses in which his offense didn't provide much support. Even in the two victories, the Red Sox only put up seven combined runs in dubyas at New York and Chicago. The southpaw worked into the seventh of the 4-2 decision in the Bronx. He was brilliant in his lone matchup against the Yankees in Boston last season, tossing eight innings of 3-hit baseball for a 5-1 win.
The weather forecast isn't looking too good with a 50% chance of rain at game time, and those chances increasing throughout the evening. Assuming they can get the game in, I do like a good ol-fashioned pitchers duel breaking out, and like the home team to take it for my free MLB pick.
MLB Pick: Red Sox -110