No Reason to Get Off Red Sox Bandwagon Thursday vs. Yankees

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 4:53 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2018 4:53 PM UTC

The best rivalry in baseball concludes – for now – on Thursday night from Fenway Park as Yankees-Red Sox is again nationally televised (7:10 ET, MLB Network).

New York Yankees at Boston Red SoxFree MLB Pick: Red SoxBest Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3388183, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,169,238,1275], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

The first Yankees-Red Sox series of the season – don’t worry, they play 16 more times overall – concludes Thursday night from Fenway Park with a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch on the MLB Network. I believe it’s an FCC regulation that every Yankees-Red Sox game be shown on national TV of some sort.

If new Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton thought he heard the boo-birds in his home park, well, he’ll likely hear much worse in Boston if he goes 0-for-5 with five strikeouts again. The 2017 NL MVP and MLB home run king enters Thursday batting just .235 with 23 strikeouts. Stanton, perhaps pressing, already has set a single-season record in the live-ball era (1920 to present) with two separate games this season going at least 0-for-5 with five Ks.

You may have read a statistic recently that last week Stanton struck out 16 times, or three more than Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio did in the entire 1941 season when Joe D. had his 56-game hitting streak and finished with a .357 average and .440 on-base percentage (but only 11 HRs). It’s not like Stanton is the only Yankee struggling. Gary Sanchez (BA of .122) might have been the worst hitter in baseball this year before a big game Wednesday in New York's 10-7 victory. That ended the Red Sox's nine-game winning streak, and there was a brawl as well (see below video).

Boston, meanwhile, is going to be without excellent young shortstop Xander Bogaerts for about two weeks. An ankle injury suffered Sunday and subsequent X-ray revealed a small crack in the talus bone in his left ankle. No surgery needed, though. Brock Holt and Tzu-Wei Lin will share time at shortstop.

[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/b_lULj6v804", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]

Probable Pitchers: Gray vs. Porcello

This normally would be CC Sabathia’s turn in the rotation for the Yankees, but the big lefty is on the disabled list with a hip injury. The team hopes he misses just once start. Luis Cessa was called up from the minors and had been originally projected to start here, but it will be Sonny Gray. He’ll be on normal rest with New York having been off Monday.

Gray (1-0, 3.60) went six innings last time out against the Orioles in a victory, allowing three runs over six innings and just four hits. He generated 10 groundball outs, a good sign considering Gray fifth among qualified starters in groundball rate in 2017 (52.8 percent). In three starts last year vs. Boston, one while still with Oakland, Gray was 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA. He allowed 16 hits in 18 innings with 17 strikeouts. New Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez is 3-for-7 off him with a double and homer. Mookie Betts, who had a monster Game 1 in this series, is just 2-for-15. Holt 1-for-10.

Boston’s Rick Porcello won the 2016 Cy Young Award, regressed in a major way last year and is off to a solid start in 2018 with a 2-0 record, 2.84 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. It should be noted that both his starts came against the offensively weak Rays. After a career-low 39.2 percent groundball rate last year, Porcello has a 51.3 percent rate through his first two starts. That’s good because Porcello was homer-happy last year (1.7 HR/9) and hasn’t allowed one yet.

In 2017, Porcello was 1-3 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts vs. New York. The Yanks hit .250 collectively off him with 24 strikeouts and five homers in 25 innings. Brett Gardner is a career .304 hitter off him with two homers in 46 at-bats. Aaron Judge is 1-for-10 with a homer. Stanton is 1-for-1 with a double.

  • Yankees are 1-5 in their last 6 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
  • Red Sox are 4-0 in Porcello’s last 4 starts vs. American League East.
  • Yankees are 2-6 in Gray’s last 8 road starts.

I don’t always follow trends but will here for a Thursday MLB pick. The Red Sox are playing lights out, Wednesday's game notwithstanding, while even New York’s supposed stellar bullpen is struggling in the early going.

comment here