Yankees vs. Red Sox AL Wild Card Game Pick – October 5, 2021

Well, this one’s for all the marbles.

Maybe the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry hasn’t been as intense of late relative to year’s past, but man do we have a doozie of an AL Wild Card matchup going tonight in Beantown.

The AL Wild Card race went down to the wire, but fittingly we have a couple of AL East clubs looking to punch their ticket to an American League Division Series matchup with another AL East foe in the Tampa Bay Rays, or the reigning AL champs.

With that said, let’s dive into a Yankees vs. Red Sox AL Wild Card pick and see who’s going to win a do-or-die tilt tonight from iconic Fenway Park in Boston.

Yankees vs. Red Sox Betting Odds

*Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Teams Moneyline Run Line Total
Yankees -125 -1.5 (+130) Over 8 (-110)
Red Sox +115 +1.5 (-150) Under 8 (-110)

Yankees vs. Red Sox Starting Pitching Breakdown

Yankees

Of course, if your name is not Gerrit Cole you were never going to start this ball game, regardless of rest. After all, there was an off day on Monday and Cole last pitched six days ago in Toronto. The Yankees opted not to use Cole on short rest in the season-ending series with the Rays, a decision that looks quite sound at the moment after the Yankees walked off Tampa on Sunday.

All told, it was another excellent season for Cole even if he didn’t live up to the lofty expectations placed on him in the Bronx. He spun a 3.23 ERA/2.92 FIP with a 12.06 K/9 against just 2.03 BB/9, good for a 5.93 K/BB ratio that led the AL and finished third in the big leagues.

He’s not exactly coming in hot, however. The Yankees’ ace was tagged for five runs in six innings in that aforementioned outing in Toronto his last time out, but a wider sample reveals a 7.85 ERA over his last three starts, allowing at least three runs each time. Go back to more outings and Cole sports a 6.21 ERA over his last five, so vintage Cole has been missing of late.

While his home/road splits are more or less even for the season, Cole’s had his issues in Boston this season. Across three starts and 16 innings pitched at Fenway this season, Cole has posted a 6.19 ERA. His second-to-last outing was in Boston where he allowed three runs on six hits and three walks across six innings of work.

In six career starts at Fenway, Cole owns a 5.06 ERA across 32 innings of work, but he’s also allowed seven home runs in that time, good for a 1.97 HR/9 that can certainly get you into some trouble in a hurry if that trend were to continue in this one tonight.

Red Sox

From one All-Star to another, it’s no surprise to see the Red Sox running out right-hander Nathan Eovaldi for this all-or-nothing contest on the heels of a career-year throughout the 2021 season.

While his 3.75 ERA on the season is not a career-best season, Eovaldi’s 5.6 fWAR is easily a career high. That number ties together 32 starts and 182.1 innings of 3.75 ERA/2.79 FIP ball while he punched out a healthy 9.63 batters per nine and walked just 1.73 per nine, the latter of which paced all qualified MLB hurlers.

While Fenway Park isn’t exactly a pitcher’s paradise, Eovaldi’s splits lean towards home. He worked to a 3.47 ERA and a dazzling 2.43 FIP at home this season where he allowed just 0.47 HR/9 compared to a 1.19 mark on the road. While his K/BB ratio plays up slightly on the road, no one is going to argue with 9.24 K/9 against just 1.74 BB/9 at home, either.

Now, you could say he’s coming in on a high note after tossing six shutout innings with just four hits and a walk allowed against seven strikeouts his last time out in Baltimore. However, Eovaldi was roughed up by these Yankees two starts back in Boston as he lasted just 2.2 innings while yielding seven earned runs on seven hits, two walks and a homer. He didn’t register a single strikeout in the abbreviated outing.

That said, Eovaldi also pitched 7.2 innings of one-run ball in his other home start against the Yankees back on June 26 while he posted a 2.03 ERA across his previous five outing against the Bombers this season.

The hard-throwing right-hander owns a career 3.64 ERA across 12 starts, 15 appearances and 71.2 innings against his arch rival.

Offense and Bullpen Notes

Yankees

The Yankees’ offense came to life down the stretch run of the regular season, but were quieted by perhaps the best pitching staff in baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.

Despite ending their season with a narrow 1-0 walkoff win over the Rays, New York scored just six runs total in that three-game set. That said, they scored at least five runs in each of their eight previous games prior to that series with the Rays, averaging 6.38 runs per game in that time.

For the season, it was a disappointing result for an offense that seemingly has the pieces to form one of the best groups in baseball. They finished 12th with a .317 wOBA on the season and tied for 11th with a .169 ISO.

This is a club that added some serious thump at the trade deadline in Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, and the moves paid some dividends as they rank ninth with a .189 ISO and 13th with a .323 wOBA since Aug. 1, although a serious power parade from the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton down the stretch has plenty to do with the increase in power of late.

While they rank 13th with a .323 wOBA on the road against righties such as Eovaldi over the last 30 days, their .217 ISO in that time ranks third in all of baseball, so while Eovaldi has been stingy in the home run department at Fenway Park this season, the Bronx Bombers have lived up to their moniker in these situations of late.

One injury note here is that infielder DJ LeMahieu will obviously not be in the lineup tonight after he was placed on the 10-day IL due to a sports hernia that will require surgery at season’s end.

While the offense did notable damage down the stretch run, the Yankees would not be in this game if it weren’t for their bullpen.

There’s been some hiccups along the way as is the case with every club, but the Yankees’ bullpen finished the regular season ranked fourth with a 3.56 ERA. Not only that, but this group was absolutely dynamite down the stretch, ranking first with both a 1.84 ERA and 1.2 fWAR over the last two weeks and a 2.76 ERA over the last week, although that number took a hit as part of their 12-2 loss to the Rays on Saturday.

That group also shut out the Rays over 5.2 innings on Sunday with all of their top relievers going in that must-win contest, and with an off day on Monday Aaron Boone’s bullpen is at full go here for this one tonight.

Red Sox

Before getting into the numbers, the first thing to make note of here is that slugger J.D. Martinez is out for this one tonight after a fluke ankle sprain while tripping over second base on his way to a rare outfielder appearance on Sunday in Washington. Keep in mind this is a playoff game, which means rosters need to be set and submitted this morning. This means Martinez is not available off the bench as he’s been left of the Red Sox roster all together.

It’s a notable hit for an offense that’s done a ton of damage at home this season. The Sox finished the regular season as the best home offense in baseball by way of their .354 wOBA at Fenway Park while they finished fourth with a .200 ISO at home as well. Not only that, but they tied the Reds for the best offense at home against right-handed pitching with a .359 wOBA while their .213 ISO in such scenarios tied for second alongside the L.A. Dodgers.

Over the last 30 days spanning 310 trips to the plate, the Red Sox sport a second-ranked .387 wOBA and .242 ISO at home against right-handed pitching.

As for the bullpen, the Red Sox enjoyed success early, but slipped as the season moved along. In the first half of the season the Red Sox ranked eighth with a 3.57 ERA, but since the All-Star break that groups has posted a 4.49 mark that ranked 21st league wide. That number has come down to a 4.07 mark over the last 30 days, but they’ve also worked to a 4.66 ERA/5.09 FIP and -0.4 fWAR over the last two weeks.

Obviously, we don’t know how this one plays out from a bullpen perspective, and we could even see some starters coming in out of that bullpen in a do-or-die, one-game playoff. That said, the bullpen outlook for this Red Sox team is certainly bleaker than that of their opponent.

Betting Trends

Yankees

  • Yankees are 4-0 in their last four Wild Card showdown games
  • Yankees are 8-0 in their last eight games following an off day
  • Yankees are 5-1 in their last six road games
  • Over is 5-1 in the Yankees’ last six playoff road games
  • Over is 6-2 in the Yankees’ last eight playoff games
  • Under is 5-2-1 in the Yankees’ last eight overall

Red Sox

  • Red Sox are 8-1 in their last nine playoff games
  • Red Sox are 4-1 in their last five overall
  • Red Sox are 2-5 in their last seven as a home underdog
  • Under is 7-1 in the Red Sox last eight overall
  • Under is 5-0 in the Red Sox last five versus the AL East
  • Over is 13-5-1 in the Red Sox last 19 games at home

Head to Head

  • Yankees are 6-0 in the last six meetings
  • Yankees are 4-1 in the last five meetings in Boston
  • Under is 12-3-1 in the last 16 meetings
  • Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Boston

Yankees vs. Red Sox AL Wild Card Pick

In what is shaping up to be a dandy from Fenway, I’m going with the road favorites here as I believe Cole and that Yankees bullpen will pitch their club to victory.

That’s not to say I don’t think the offense will score some runs, but as noted, Eovaldi doesn’t give up much in terms of home runs at home. I absolutely think that Judge, Stanton, Rizzo and Gallo have home run upside, but I don’t see offense winning out here.

Rather, I believe Cole gives the Yankees a strong outing here, one that should last about seven innings before the high-leverage Yankees’ bullpen takes over. With Clay Holmes, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga and Aroldis Chapman set for high-leverage innings tonight, Cole doesn’t even need to get super deep into this one as the Yankees are well-armed behind him.

While I would sprinkle the Under here, my best bet for this one is the Yankees to win this one straight up on the moneyline.

The Bet
YANKEES
-125
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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