Red Sox at Yankees Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/31/2013
I'm about to tell you something that will completely shock you: the Red Sox visit the Yankees this weekend for three games and.... wait for it.... every game is on national television. Mind-blowing, I know. I'm totally tired of the hype surrounding when the Sox and Yanks play, but here I am writing about it anyway.
These two clubs are battling for the AL East lead, with Boston currently in first place. The old axiom is that a team in first place on Memorial Day has a great shot at winning its division. Well, Memorial Day was Monday, so I'm going to go with June 1. Last June 1, here were the six division leaders: Tampa Bay, Chicago White Sox, Texas, Washington, Cincinnati and L.A. Dodgers. The Nats and Reds did win the NL East and Central, respectively. The Rangers were the only other playoff team, as a wild card. None of those three even made the World Series. So let's not get too excited about being in first place this early.
New York crushed the Red Sox 13-5 last year when Boston was terrible. The Sox were 3-6 at Yankee Stadium in 2012 but won two of three there to open the season in the lone meeting so far.
Red Sox at Yankees Betting Storylines
The Red Sox got a scare Monday when ace Clay Buchholz had to be scratched from his start with a collarbone injury, called "irritation in right AC joint." How'd that happen? Supposedly it happened because he slept wrong while holding his daughter. Are baseball players wimps sometimes or what? Think a hockey player would sit out? Buchholz was then cleared to start Friday's opener but reportedly felt some irritation in a bullpen session Wednesday. Thus, the Sox scratched him and moved back Jon Lester from Thursday to this start. Buchholz is a leading AL Cy Young candidate (with Tampa Bay's Matt Moore) at 7-0 with an AL-best 1.73 ERA.
Lester (6-1, 3.34) started nearly as strong as Buchholz but has allowed a concerning 10 runs on 17 hits over 13 innings in his past two. He pitched Opening Day in New York and held the Yankees to two runs and five hits in five innings while striking out seven. He is 10-4 with a 4.08 ERA in his career against the Yankees. Journeyman Yanks shortstop Jayson Nix really has Lester's number with a .304 average, three homers and five RBI in 23 career at-bats against him. Robinson Cano has faced Lester 60 times and hasn't gone yard with a .233 average and 13 strikeouts.
The injury-ravaged Yankees lineup, still without Curtis Granderson (he was back for a short while), Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli, is expected to get both Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Kevin Youkilis (back) off rehab stints for Friday's opener. Teixeira hurt his right wrist in the World Baseball Classic and hasn't played in the majors yet in 2013. The switch-hitter says he is further along hitting from the right side than the left. Youkilis, formerly of the Red Sox, hit .266 with two homers and seven RBI before going down.
It's just not wise to give long-term extension to pitchers in their late 20s-early 30s with an injury risk. You might get 3-4 years of excellence but then usually things change and these guys break down. It's starting to look like that is happening to former Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who starts Friday. The big lefty got a five-year, $122 million extension after the 2011 season. However, last year all those innings caught up to him as he landed on the disabled list. This year, the soon-to-be 33-year-old has been just average.
Sabathia (4-4, 3.96) hasn't won in his past five starts, although New York did take three of those. In his past three, Sabathia has allowed 30 hits and 14 runs in 19.2 innings. He has also allowed 11 homers in 2013. He pitched Opening Day against Lester and allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings with a season-high four walks. Sabathia is 8-10 with a 4.33 ERA in his career against Boston. David Ortiz has gone yard twice off Sabathia but is hitting only .224 in 49 career at-bats and has struck out in nearly a third of them.
Red Sox at Yankees MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Yankees opened at -118 and the Sox at +108 with the total at 8. All trends entering Thursday: Boston is 27-24-3 “over/under” (13-11-1 on road) and 26-28 on the runline. New York is 21-26-5 O/U (11-12-2 at home) and 29-23 on the runline.
The Sox are 5-1 in their past six Friday games and 12-5 in their past 17 series openers. Boston is 5-2 in its past seven against lefties. The Sox are 8-19 in Lester's past 27 starts against teams with a winning record. The Yankees are 8-2 in their past 10 against lefties. New York is 9-3 in its past 12 against teams with a winning record. The Yanks are 7-2 in Sabathia's past nine starts. The over is 6-1 in Lester's past seven road starts. The under is 5-0 in New York's past five against a lefty. The over is 4-0 in Sabathia's past four home starts against Boston. The Sox are 7-2 in Lester's past nine at the Yankees.
Red Sox at Yankees Picks and Betting Predictions
That New York has played as well as it has with so many injuries is a testament to Manager Joe Girardi. But it's starting to catch up to the Bombers. The Yankees entered Thursday night's series finale at the Mets on a season-high four-game losing streak, and the offense is struggling. Certainly the return of Teixeira and Youkilis should help, but remember that Tex always struggles for the first month or so of his season. I trust Lester more than Sabathia right now, although not by much. Take Boston and the over.
How about $60 worth of member’s baseball picks absolutely free? – You can use this $60 credit for any of our top MLB handicappers. Get on board now.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's MLB Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert MLB Picks