Well, if you are going to miss, may as well miss big right? I took the under eight and a half runs in the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals game last night, and boy was I wrong. The starting pitching matchup was quietly a very good one, and I expected big things out of both Miles Mikolas and Mike Foltynewicz. But in the end, neither of them pitched overly well, and this game went over early.
To make matters worse, both teams bullpens struggled as well, and this game ended up going way over as the final was 11-6, with St. Louis picking up the win. The win was a huge one for the Cardinals as with the win and coupled with the Colorado Rockies loss, the Cards are now in sole possession of the second wild-card spot in the National League. The playoff race in the NL is a tight one, and it is going to be an exciting finish in the next two weeks! For today’s pick, I will shift focus over to the American League and break down the game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
The Boston Red Sox are in the Bronx Tuesday for game one of a three-game series with their hated rivals, the New York Yankees. With a win tonight, the Red Sox could clinch the American League East Division title. And what better place to do it than on your biggest rival’s home field. Coming into the season, many expected the AL East to be one of the closest races in baseball. Instead, it is all but wrapped up at this point with the Red Sox magic number down to just one.
Boston comes into this game red-hot as they have won six out of their last seven games and have reason to be even more optimistic as they are starting to get healthy at the right time. For the Yankees, they have lost six out of their last eight games and are in danger of letting the Oakland Athletics catch them for home field advantage in the wild-card round of the playoffs as they hold just a game and a half lead over the A’s entering play today.
Starting tonight for the Yankees is JA Happ (16-6 3.75 ERA), and for the Red Sox, it is Nathan Eovaldi (5-7 4.22 ERA). Both of these pitchers were acquired at the trade deadline and have had decent success since joining their new teams. The Yankees are big -153 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Yankee Stadium in New York City.
JA Happ has been a breath of fresh air for the New York Yankees since being brought over from the Toronto Blue Jays at the trade deadline earlier this season. In his eight starts in pinstripes, Happ is 6-0 with a 2.70 ERA. The Yankees brought in the 35-year-old veteran to add some starting pitching depth, but since joining the team, Happ has likely been their best starter. With Luis Severino coming apart at the seams, it could be Happ that is called upon to start the one-game playoff for New York.
Happ did face this Boston team right before being traded, and he got hammered. On July 12th, while still pitching for the Blue Jays, Happ lasted just three and two-thirds of an inning and got blasted for five runs, all earned, and picked up the loss. Happ will have his hands full tonight against a Boston team that leads the majors in basically every offensive category. The Red Sox are first in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, and slugging percentage.
Nathan Eovaldi was brought over from the Tampa Bay Rays in a similar move as the one that brought Happ to the Yankees. A veteran presence to help add some stability to the pitching staff. Eovaldi has had some flashes of greatness for Boston, like in his first start when he threw eight shutout innings and allowed just three hits to this New York Yankees team. But he has been up and down since.
Eovaldi has even been tasked with helping out in the bullpen as his last appearance came out of the pen for Boston. With the Red Sox getting Chris Sale back into action after he missed over a month with an injury, the pressure on Eovaldi to produce has been greatly reduced. It will be interesting to see how Eovaldi performs tonight against a Yankees team he dominated just a couple of weeks ago.
I really like what JA Happ is doing right now for the New York Yankees. But to see him and his Yankees as major favorites over the best team in the major leagues is quite shocking. Throw in the fact that the Red Sox are winning all their games right now and the Yankees have lost six out of eight, and I just don’t see how this number can be so high.
The Red Sox will certainly be motivated tonight as they have a chance to clinch the division title so they will be playing hard. And the Yankees are likely to be without Aaron Judge as well as he is not expected to play, although he may be available to pinch hit late in the game. This is just another case of the public putting too much emphasis on the starting pitching matchup.
Yeah, Happ has been solid for the Yankees, but it’s not like he has been unhittable, and getting the opportunity to back the best team in baseball as major underdogs is just too much value to pass up on. So, I will take a shot on another major underdog in this one and back the Boston Red Sox to win and clinch the division title tonight in game one from New York at +143!