The Boston Red Sox, fresh off a sweep of the New York Yankees, will head to Toronto with a whopping 9.5 game lead in the American League East. The Yankees currently have a game pending against the White Sox, so that could be slightly less by the time you read this, but still. Can we stick a fork in the Yankees? At least in the division race against the Red Sox, I believe that we can. 9.5 games is way too much to overcome, even without considering the team they have to do it against.
The attention for the Yankees is going to turn to the wildcard. While it’d be a disaster if they don’t even catch a wildcard spot, that isn’t for certain at this juncture. They only have a 2.5 game cushion and the Athletics are closing in on stealing homefield from them. Playing at home is awfully important in a one-game format.
Anything can happen, but playing in a do-or-die situation at home can be the difference. The A’s are playing with all of the confidence and energy in the world, and the Yanks are playing lazy, sloppy baseball. Blowing a 4-1 lead to the Red Sox on Sunday night was the breaking point for some people. Aaron Judge completely changes the dynamic of the Yankees’ lineup.
They just have to survive and not lose the wildcard with him out. Judge hasn’t swung a bat yet since breaking his wrist, but is expected to do so shortly. A fractured wrist, even when it’s healed up enough for a hitter to return, can linger longer. The Yankees need a healthy Judge, especially with their questionable rotation, to be playing at optimal health. Meanwhile, the Red Sox keep padding their wins and leaving the Yankees way behind. Marcus Stroman will hope to get his stuff together tonight against the hot Red Sox. Get our free Red Sox vs. Blue Jays pick below.
Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays Pick
Drew Pomeranz (1-5, 5.56 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (4-8, 5.63 ERA)
Drew Pomeranz came back to Red Sox fans holding their breathe. The Red Sox haven’t needed Pomeranz to pitch like he was in 2016 and 2017, but it would be a nice luxury to have. Before hitting the DL in May, Pomeranz was getting rocked. When he came back to the majors, the same issues he had with long balls in the minors during his rehab stint hurt him here.
His velocity was way down, as he was topping out at 88mph on the gun. The Orioles got to him for 6 hits and 4 runs in 4.2 innings. It was a rare 7-6 loss to a bad team for the Red Sox. He responded with a nice outing against the Phils, as he allowed 2 runs across 5 innings. His velocity was still down, though. Nevertheless, it was the first time in five starts that he allowed less than 4 runs. Justin Smoak, Teoscar Hernandez, and Luke Maile have all made it look easy against Pomeranz with batting averages of .417, .500, and .400. The Jays own a .346 OBP against Pomeranz as a team.
It likely isn’t going to mean much if Stroman can’t limit the best offense in baseball, though. The Red Sox are averaging 5.31 runs per game for 1st in the major leagues. Boston hitters have done a fine job against Stroman, with a .305 batting average and .341 OBP in 174 at-bats. Stroman is coming off an iffy start against the A’s where he got lit up for 11 hits and 7 runs in Oakland.
He’s been worse at home though, with a 6.09 ERA and .331 OBA. The Blue Jays best plan of winning this game might be with attacking Pomeranz. It’s going to be tough for Stroman to navigate around this Boston offense. There should be some runs tonight at the Rogers Centre. A play on the OVER looks solid.