MLB Series Betting Picks: New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox
The year is 2018 and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are set to renew their rivalry for what seems to be the forty-seventh billion time. Both teams breezed through the American League, finishing with 100 and 108 wins, respectively. The Yankees had the unfortunate task of playing in the wild-card game, but the result was never in question. The only question now is if the Yankees slug their way to the ALCS.
As of writing this, the Red Sox are +190 to win the AL Pennant , while the Yankees check in at +325. But before we get into breaking down the pitching and hitting lineups, let's take a look at what each team brings into this postseason. For starters, the Yankees and Red Sox met 19 times this season, with the Red Sox winning 10 of those games. As for the postseason, it may shock you to hear, but these two rivals have met in the postseason only three times before.
As a franchise, the Yankees have won the World Series 27 times. Their last win came in 2009. For a franchise as rich as the Yankees, that seems like an eternity ago. In fact, that was the last time the Yankees reached the Fall Classic, so you know the Evil Empire and its fan base are dying to get back.
On the other hand, the Rex Sox are eight-time World Champions, and their last triumph happened in 2013. That was also the last time they won a playoff series, so the Boston faithful will be excited - but nervous - about what lies ahead.
The Yankees rotation is the question mark in the series. On paper, a rotation featuring J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn, Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Luis Severino should be good enough to overpower any lineup. However, on most occasions, that just isn't the case. Out of all of the Yankees pitchers, only Severino came close to tossing 200 innings, and he was the pitcher with the lowest ERA at 3.39. We already know he was used up in the Wild-Card game, so it's unlikely we see Severino again until Game 5 - possibly Game 4 if the situation calls for it. However, the Yankees bullpen is solid, featuring Dellin Betances, Chad Green, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman.
The Red Sox pitching rotation is a unit that has been lights out all year long. They were led by Rick Porcello, who pitched 191.1 innings and posted a 17-7 record with a 4.28 ERA. However, it is Chris Sale who will start Game 1. Sale posted a 12-4 record with a miniscule 2.11 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 237 strikeouts. Sale has been dominant for the last handful of seasons, so watching him pitch in the postseason will be exciting for Red Sox fans and neutral fans alike. Beyond him, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez make up the middle of the rotation. Price tossed 176 innings and posted a 16-7 record with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. E-Rod turned in a similar record of 13-5, 3.82 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. This pitching staff is going to be tough to beat.
We know what the Yankees lineup is. It's a softball-like team that is littered with power hitters throughout the lineup and that is never out of any game. The Yankees have seven players in their lineup that hit 20 or more home runs this season. Giancarlo Stanton had the most at 38, while Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar, Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks had 27 each. Stanton also led the team in RBIs with 100 and strikeouts with 211. It should be worth noting that the Yankees have six players (including Stanton) that struck out more than 100 times this season. Against a pitching staff that the Red Sox have, it'll be interesting to see if the Yankees can stay patient at the plate and not get rung up.
On the other hand, the Red Sox lineup is one of the most potent and consistent lineups in the American League. They rank first in runs (5.4), hits (93.) average (.268), OBP (.339), SLG (.453) and OPS (.792). They don't quite have the "power" that the Yankees have as they have only two guys who cracked the 30-home run plateau - J.D. Martinez with 43 and Mookie Betts with 32. Those two guys also led the team in OPS with a 1.031 and 1.078 mark, respectively, so keeping them off the base pads will be crucial if the Yankees are to have success. Beyond Martinez and Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts are two players that could be x-factors as they combined for 190 RBIs and 175 runs scored. Not to mention they are both hitting better than .285 on the year.
Who Has the Edge
From a power standpoint, the Yankees are the clear-cut favorites. They can hit he long ball at any given moment and are never out of any game because of that. However, it'll be interesting to see if they can stay discipline at the plate. If they can't, the Red Sox pitching staff will rack up strikeouts quickly. The Yankees starting rotation is a bit of a question mark for me at the moment, so the Red Sox may be able to continue producing the numbers they did throughout the course of the regular season. The season series was essentially even. And with the magic of the postseason upon us, I wouldn't be surprised to see this series go the distance and give us another one of those magical Yankees/Red Sox moments we've grown accustomed to over the years.
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