Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: CC Sabathia
Betting odds: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
- Yankees: -104 (CC Sabathia)
- Red Sox: -106 (Brian Johnson)
- Over/under: 10 (+100/-120)
- First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
The Yankees and Red Sox resume their rivalry at Fenway Park for a four-game series, with Boston owning a 5.5 game lead in the division, and Aaron Judge on the DL for New York. Despite the overall prowess of the teams, Thursday’s pitching matchup leaves a lot to be desired.
I wrote about CC Sabathia extensively before his last start, because frankly, he appears to be coming apart at the seams. After struggling in July and getting injections in his knee during the All-Star break, he tweaked it in his last start, walked the next two batters and was taken out of the game.
Basically, he has been just effective enough to keep pitching. He is probably due to regress further, and I wouldn’t anticipate improvement the longer his old body goes through the season. The Red Sox generally hit lefties well, and can field a lineup that will give Sabathia a lot of problems in his current state.
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On the other side, Johnson starts for Boston, and the Yankees hit lefties pretty well, too. Johnson has been, in a word, fine. He doesn’t pitch deep into games, he isn’t particularly dominant, but he can give you four innings and one to two runs. Johnson sports a pretty high xFIP compared to his ERA, but his other metrics aren’t particularly out of whack.
This potent Yankees lineup will give him problems.
The other factor in play Thursday night: the weather. It’s going to be hot in Boston (most of the game will be played with temperatures in the 80s), and the wind will be blowing out to center with some velocity. These are not strong pitching conditions, especially for hurlers without swing-and-miss stuff at their disposal with regularity.
So what to do with all of these factors? I think the best course of action is to play the over in the first 5 innings, which sits at 5.5 at the time of writing. The Yankees and their “best bullpen of all time” have enough arms that can take over late to keep scoring down (even though their bullpen is a little fatigued right now). And the Red Sox had an off day yesterday, so they come on with everyone available in the pen.
It would be a shame to get stuck on a 3-3, 4-4 or 5-4 score with the teams trading live bullpen arms late — trying to hit the Over 10 for the game — when the starters were so ineffective.
The Bet: First 5 Innings over 5.5 -110