Red Sox vs. Yankees Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+100|
|Over/Under||9.5 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||7:15 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via bet365.|
After a win in a tight, low-scoring affair on Friday night, the Boston Red Sox will try to secure yet another series win, this time against the rival Yankees.
Considering the way that both teams have hit the ball of late, you’d be surprised to see a total this high, and things get even more surprising when you look at how both pitchers match up with the opposition. With that, is there any value at all at targeting this total, or are we being duped? Let’s take a look and find out.
Red Sox Have Gone Cold At The Plate
On the surface, nothing is really the matter with the Red Sox. They went on a nice run with four series victories in five tries — with one two-game split against Atlanta — before running into the Astros and getting swept. It’s never a big indictment on the way you’re playing to get dominated by Houston, considering it’s been one of the best teams in baseball, but this offense really just hasn’t hit in a long time.
It was nice to see Rafael Devers supply the power early for the Red Sox on Friday, considering their wRC+ over the last two weeks sits at 73, and the dinger was just their 10th over that span. A team that has been so great at making contact all year long is now failing in that department; falling outside of the top 10 for the season and ranking second-to-last in the bigs over the last two weeks with just a 72.3% contact rate. Ironically, the only team that has been worse at making contact over the last two weeks has been the Yankees.
Luckily for Boston, it might not have to worry too much about run support with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound. Not only is his matchup great (we’ll get to that later), but he’s due for a bit of a correction in his numbers. The lefty has his strikeout rate near 27% again, which is an area he’s always been great, but he’s been even better in 2021 with a minuscule 5.7% walk rate. That will come in handy against a Yankees team that’s consistently been great in the walk department.
Yankees AL East Surge Hits Pause
The Yankees’ charge up the AL East standings has hit a bit of a snag over the last couple of weeks with eight losses in 11 games, including Friday’s to Boston. The importance of this series to New York can’t go understated; with a couple of wins it can move just 1.5 games back of Boston for second place and inch closer to the first-place Rays. For as bad as the last 11 games have gone, this weekend is an immediate lifeline right back into the thick of the race (not that it’s late in the season, or anything).
A big issue this year — and last year — has been hitting left-handed pitching. The Bombers are hitting .238 and have a wRC+ inside the bottom 10 in the league against southpaws so far in 2021, and last season they hit a miserable .226. It’s shocking to see numbers like that considering the supply of right-handed power the Yankees have, but it’s the harsh reality facing this team as they get set to face Rodriguez.
Jameson Taillon gets the ball here for the Yankees, and many in analytics circles are waiting for the former dazzling Pirates prospect to hit his stride in 2021. Taillon has ranked inside the top 20% of the league with his spin rates and has flashed tremendous strikeout upside. Because of all those swings and misses, his expected ERA according to Statcast is a mere 3.80, which is a long way off from his real-life 5.10 ERA. A date with a tough Boston lineup wouldn’t be the place you’d expect regression to set in, but it’s possible.
Red Sox-Yankees Pick
Could it be that two pitchers who have had crummy luck according to all the ERA indicators could see things turn on the same day? That’s what I envision happening on Saturday. Rodriguez not only has an advantage over the Yankees by being left-handed, but his expert control should prevent this walk-happy team getting the traffic on the basepaths needed to grab a few runs in one of the early frames.
On the other hand, Taillon has been great at getting whiffs this season with those spin rates and should be able to generate some punchouts here against a Red Sox team that has not made contact with the baseball lately. I see both offenses continuing to slump, and a whole lot of value here in the total.
Pick: Under 9.5 (-105)