Yankees in Bounce-Back Situation Against Rival Red Sox

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 2:13 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2018 2:13 PM UTC

New York will be looking to avenge Tuesday's 14-1 blowout loss at Boston. Can we derive some insight from history for tonight's second game of the series?

MLB Wednesday: Yankees (5-6) vs. Red Sox (9-1)Free MLB Pick: Yankees ML +103Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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The two rivals couldn't have had more opposite starts to their season. The Yanks have dropped four of their past five, while the Red Sox have won nine in a row. The Yankees aren't a team to get demoralized after a bad loss and history suggests they will pick themselves back up tonight (7:10 ET; MLB Network). Last year they were 4-1 against the Red Sox after losing the prior game. Conversely, the Red Sox were 8-12 last season following a win by four or more runs, with many of those wins coming against bottom-tiered teams. Looking at the MLB odds board, the Yankees are the choice with our MLB picks.

Masahiro Tanaka (1-1 2.92 ERA) is just the man to help New York beat Boston. Last year, he earned a 1.62 ERA in two starts at Fenway Park, averaging 8.1 innings per start. Despite being inconsistent throughout 2017 as a whole, he was a reliable pitcher against the Red Sox. The key for Tanaka is to not have to rely on his fastball. Fortunately for him, he didn't need to throw it more than five percent of the time in any of his starts last year at Boston. But he does possess great secondary stuff. Opposing hitters produced a BA of no higher than .200 against his slider and splitter last season.

Tanaka developed these two breaking pitches by strongly limiting their vertical movement. Lessening a slider's vertical movement gives the batter more trouble in identifying the pitch as a slider. His splitter is difficult mostly because of its drop in velocity relative to the fastball that makes it look like a change-up when it isn't. These two pitches, which he threw a combined 57 percent of the time last year, were crucial in Tanaka's success at Boston. Opponents are hitting less than .160 against each of them this year even though he is throwing them a combined 75 percent of the time.

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David Price (1-0 0.00 ERA) is the pitcher whom the Yanks want to face tonight. New York's active hitters are batting .336 in 131 career at-bats against him. In his career, Price has faced 15 teams more than three times. Of those teams, Price's ERA is second-worst against the Yanks, at 4.53. Sure, Price has been looking great so far. But both of his strong performances came against one of the MLB's worst teams in Tampa Bay, who also continues to be notoriously weak against southpaws. Typically, Price struggles to find his way into the season. His career ERA in March/April is 3.83, worse than in any other month. His career opposing BA in night games also escalates .18 from the daytime.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez will return to the lineup. He's an important addition because he has batted .455 in career 11 at-bats against Price. Also, his career BA is .293 in 13 career games at Fenway. Didi Gregorius is another important batter whose career BA is also .293 in Fenway Park. He's hitting .444 in his career vs Price. Gregorius and Sanchez have combined for five home runs vs. the southpaw. The Red Sox, though, will likely miss shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is listed as "doubtful." Bogaerts is batting .368 this season.

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