One thing that I always do when making a baseball bet is that I list the starting pitchers. That way, if one of the starters doesn’t pitch, the bet turns to no action. While I think that much of the square betting public tends to put way too much emphasis on the starting pitching matchup of a given game, it is very important. And when a starter gets scratched at the last minute, you don’t want to be stuck holding onto a ticket with diminished value. So, when I made my bet yesterday on the Brewers and Athletics game, I made sure to list Chase Anderson and Daniel Mengden as the starters. Mengden never made it to the mound as he was scratched just before first pitch.
And when the Brewers jumped out to an early lead and hit the bottom of the eighth with a 3-2 lead intact, I wondered if my listing of pitchers was a little too cautious. When it was looking like I was going to miss out on a winning bet because of it, I got a little salty. But when the A’s scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to steal the lead and eventually the game, I was quickly reminded that baseball is full of variance, and you need to limit it as much as possible. And one of the best ways of doing that is by listing your starting pitchers.
As I mentioned in the pick yesterday, Mengden was at risk of losing his spot in the rotation as the A’s had recently made moves to acquire starters Homer Baily and Tanner Roark. I guess Oakland management decided to just go ahead and pull the plug on Mengden a little early as they pulled him from his expected start and went with Baily instead. Mengden is expected to either head to the bullpen or get shipped to triple-A Las Vegas. For today’s pick, we will head to the Bronx, where the New York Yankees host their rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
The Boston Red Sox are in New York Friday for game one of a four-game series with the Red Sox. Both teams ended up standing pat at the trade deadline earlier this week, and with teams like the Indians, Twins, and Astros all adding significant talent, the move to stand pat is coming under some much deserved scrutiny.
For Boston, the Red Sox were rumored to be chasing after several big-name relievers but ended up getting no help. Boston has lost four straight games and have fallen to a whopping ten and a half games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East Division. While a division title seems to be out of reach at this point, they are just three and a half games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card in the AL, so they aren’t out of the playoff mix just yet.
As for New York, they still have the second-best record in the AL, behind just the Houston Astros. But you really have to wonder why they didn’t go out and get another starter that they badly needed. With guys like Zack Greinke, Marcus Stroman, and Trevor Bauer all being moved, it is somewhat surprising that the Yankees weren’t able to bring in another quality arm.
Starting for the Yankees is James Paxton (5-6 4.72 ERA), and for the Red Sox, it is Eduardo Rodriguez (13-4 4.13 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten and a half runs. The Yankees are -135 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Yankee Stadium in the New York City.
Eduardo Rodriguez has done one thing really well this year. And that is win baseball games. His thirteen winning decisions are tied for second in the league behind Justin Verlander and winning twenty games isn’t out of the question this year. His push for a twenty-win season was certainly helped out in July as he ran up a 5-0 record in five July starts, with a 2.03 ERA. That hot streak included wind over really good teams like these Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After losing his first two starts of the year, the Red Sox have been nearly unbeatable when Rodriguez pitches. Boston has won seventeen out of his last twenty starts. He has faced the Yankees twice in the last month and has pitched decently both times. Tossing a combined eleven innings and allowing five earned runs.
James Paxton was brought in to be a top of the rotation type of guy when the Yankees traded for him last year. But that just hasn’t been the case so far in his stint with New York. His ERA is more than a full run higher than his career average with Seattle, and while he is striking out guys at a hefty rate, his walks are way up as well as his WHIP. After accumulating a 41-26 record with the Mariners, Paxton now has a losing record with New York.
Paxton was actually decent in the first half of the season, but recently he has been awful. In the last month, he is 0-3 with an ERA of nearly seven runs. Unlike Rodriguez, who always seems to find a way to win, the Yankees were 0-5 in Paxton’s five July starts. The issue for Paxton has been consistency. At times he has looked really good, but he has been prone to the occasional blow-up start that is really hurting his overall starts. He has allowed four earned runs or more in a game six times already this year, including getting blasted for seven runs in his last start, against these very same Boston Red Sox.
Neither of these two teams had a very good last couple of days. Both teams struck out at the trade deadline, and both teams haven’t been winning all that much recently. That makes this series that much more important. If the Yankees were to sweep Boston this weekend, the Red Sox would leave town fourteen and a half games back, stick a fork in them, they are done. But if Boston were to sweep New York, all the sudden they would be within a game or two of the wild card and would have significantly closed the gap on the Yankees for the division title.
And a sweep isn’t that far out of the realm of possibility, as the Red Sox took the first three games of the series against New York last week before seeing the Yankees steal game four and save a little face. I think Boston stays hot against New York tonight. Rodriguez is pitching as well as he ever has, and Paxton has been downright awful as of late. The last team you are going to want to face when you are struggling in this Red Sox team that is number one is just about every offensive category right now.
We saw what this Boston lineup can do in Paxton’s last start against the Red Sox last week, where he got absolutely smashed, giving up four home runs in just four innings of work. I think the Red Sox find a way to win again tonight. I am quite surprised to see Paxton as a heavy favorite considering his struggles, but I will thank the oddsmakers for posting a bad number, and back the Boston Red Sox tonight in game one. Give me the Boston Red Sox at +125 tonight from Yankee Stadium!