The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will conclude this weekend with a Sunday Night Baseball matchup. The Yankees are playing for top honors in Major League Baseball, while the Red Sox are playing for the end of the regular season. They just could never get over the World Series hangover and are going to be bowing out without getting to defend their championship in the postseason.
We should say that the Red Sox are not statistically removed from the playoffs, but a seven-game hole looks like too much to get out of in less than a month. I’d be surprised if the Red Sox aren’t contenders again in 2020. If their rotation can get figured out, then everything else likely falls into place for Boston. We’ll see what direction Dave Dombrowski goes, though.
This series does not conclude tonight. There will be another game on Monday to make it a four-game tilt between the Yanks and Red Sox. They’ve taken a split going into Sunday, with the Red Sox winners by a score of 6-1 Friday night and then the Yankees responded with a 5-1 win yesterday. Strong pitching was the theme of those two wins. J.A. Happ was impressive with just 2 hits allowed, having given up no runs in 6.1 innings of play.
The Yankees are playing for something, as they hope to top the Dodgers and Astros down the stretch for the best record in the regular season. Going into Sunday, the Yankees are in a 93-50 deadlock with the Astros. Homefield advantage over the ‘Stros in a series would be critical, so they can’t get too comfortable in the final weeks of the regular season. Masahiro Tanaka is expected to get the call for the Yankees, while former Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello, is scheduled for the Red Sox. Get our free Yankees vs. Red Sox pick and the rest of the writeup below.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
I’m not incredibly confident in the Yankees in October, but if their bats get hot at the right moment, then they’ll certainly be a tough out. With the quality of arms that the Astros can throw at the Yankees, they can counter with a significant punch on the hill, though. Masahiro Tanaka is expected to be an ace, but hasn’t fulfilled that role with the Yankees. He’s most certainly been a decent pitcher. However, at this point in his career and for the money Tanaka is being paid, he must be pitching better. Perhaps that will come in the postseason.
As it stands now, Tanaka will head into Sunday with an ERA of 4.42 and 1.23 WHIP. That’s average and Tanaka should be better than average. He’s been below average on the road, posting a 5.93 ERA and 1.36 WHIP as a visitor. That isn’t sharp at all. Tanaka was punched out by the Red Sox in his most recent appearance at Fenway Park. They scored 12 runs in just 3.1 innings against Tanaka en route to a whopping 19-3 win for the Red Sox.
Over the course of Tanaka’s career, he’s faced difficulties against the Red Sox. This current group are hitting .296 with excellent power numbers to boot. The Red Sox have swatted 17 home runs against Tanaka. Six batters on the Red Sox have connected for at least 2 home runs. In total, the Red Sox have scored 54 runs against Tanaka in 341 appearences at the dish.
It’s not all great news for the Red Sox, though. Rick Porcello has been going through the motions in 2019 and hasn’t done well against the Yankees. Porcello goes into Sunday night with a shaky ERA of 5.63 and 1.44 WHIP. The Yankees have had similar success against Porcello as Tanaka has had vs the Red Sox.
Porcello has surrendered exactly the same number of long balls with 17 home runs yielded to the Yanks. Further, they’ve scored 48 runs against Porcello in 341 at-bats, the exact same sample size as Tanaka. After a couple of days with the offenses taking a backseat to the pitching, look for the bats to open things up with a nice showing Sunday night. The OVER looks like an attractive play in this spot.