I keep waiting for an all-time classic game between these New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. But so far, through two games, the series has been a bit meh. Game one looked close as it was a one-run game, but in reality, it didn’t offer much drama as the Red Sox jumped out to a 5-0 lead and coasted to the win with the Yankees not making it a run one game until Aaron Judge led off the ninth inning with a home run.
And game two was very much the same script with the opposite winner, as it was the Yankees who jumped out to an early lead and won the game going away. It was a huge win for the Yankees as they now have home field advantage the rest of the way out. But it didn’t offer much in the form of entertainment as it was a bit of a bland contest.
Hopefully game three will live up to the massive hype tonight as the series shifts back to New York City. The Yankees will start their ace Luis Severino (19-8 3.39 ERA), and for the Red Sox, it is Nathan Eovaldi (6-7 3.81 ERA). The Yankees are big -178 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:40 PM PST from Yankee Stadium in New York.
To say that Luis Severino was a bit shaky down the stretch would be an understatement. Severino was the best pitcher in the American League before the All-Star break as he was 13-2 with a 2.31 ERA. It looked like the Yankees had finally found the ace of the staff they have been craving.
But in the second half of the year, Severino really struggled. Post All-Star break, Severino went just 5-6 with a 5.57 ERA. Things got so bad that many wondered who would be starting the one-game playoff for the Yankees against the Oakland Athletics. JA Happ had been great ever since joining the team, and many thought he should get the nod.
But the Yankees saw that Severino has finished strong in his last two outings, he threw a combined twelve innings, allowed just three runs and picked up a win in both starts. And they decided to give him the start against Oakland. Severino pitched fairly well against the A’s as he did not allow a run in four innings of work. He did struggle with his command though, as he walked four batters. But in the end, the Yankees won and advanced, and the gamble paid off for New York.
The Yankees turn to Severino again tonight in a huge game three that they must win. Severino has been very up and down against Boston this season. In the three home starts against the Red Sox, Severino is 2-0 and allowed a total of just three runs in nineteen and two-thirds of an inning. On the road against Boston, in two starts he got hammered for nine runs, and the Yankees lost both games.
The Red Sox will start Nathan Eovaldi tonight trying to regain home-field advantage. Eovaldi has been used a bit like an opener recently for the Red Sox. He is starting games, but they aren’t letting him go very deep. In twelve starts for the Red Sox, Eovaldi has been used for less than six innings in all but three of them.
And it’s not like he is getting run from the games early, he has actually pitched very well. In September, Eovaldi made six starts and had an ERA of just 1.35. They are just taking a page out of Eovaldi’s former team, the Tampa Bay Rays playbook, and using him sparingly. He has been a bit of a Yankee killer in his short time with the Red Sox as he has made three appearances against New York and he has pitched sixteen innings and has yet to give up an earned run. That includes his first start against New York where he threw eight shutout innings against the Bronx Bombers.
Both of these pitchers are in a position they seem to flourish in. Severino has turned it around in his last few starts, and he has been elite all year long at Yankee Stadium. His home ERA is 1.20 runs lower than his road ERA. It makes you wonder if that is why they chose to start him against Oakland? So they could save him for a home start in this series.
And Eovaldi seems to always bring his best stuff when facing the Yankees. Sixteen straight innings without giving up an earned run is truly impressive. Especially considering the fact that the Yankees just broke the all-time record for most home runs in a season.
So, which side do I like in this one? I don’t like either. If I had to make a play, I would lean towards the Yankees as Severino has been so good at home and it is really hard to win in Yankee Stadium in the playoffs. But at the current price, I just can’t make a stand. I think New York wins, but not enough to lay all that wood.
The one side I do like though is the under 8.5 runs. I think Severino will be great and Eovaldi should get in some quality work as well. I think both starters go at least five innings and it wouldn’t shock me to see these guys still pitching into the seventh inning or later. This feels like a 3-2 or 4-1 type of game, so I will stay away from a side and make my stand on the total. Give me the under eight and a half runs tonight from Yankee Stadium in game three!