Lo Duca’s Daily: Yankees, Rockies Look for Big Wins In Final Weekend
USA Today Sports. Pictured: J.A. Happ
- J.A. Happ has been spectacular for the Yankees since being traded from Toronto and will look to keep rolling against Boston.
- The Rockies (-180) take on the Nationals looking for the eighth win in a row.
With the baseball playoffs rapidly approaching, I’m going to be doing a daily article on a few of my favorite picks on the slate. Let’s dive right in!
New York Yankees (-130) at Boston Red Sox (+120) | Over/Under: 9
The New York Yankees already know they’ll be taking on the Oakland Athletics in the AL wild-card game on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The winner of Wednesday’s win-or-go-home game will play the Red Sox in the Divisional Series.
That gives this season-closing series between the Yankees and Sox a funny feeling to it.
It should be noted that the Yankees still haven’t clinched home-field advantage for the wild-card game. Their magic number is one, so they can clinch with a win or an Oakland loss.
The Yankees will turn to J.A. Happ against Boston tonight and the veteran southpaw has been superb since coming to the Bronx. New York is 8-2 in games started by Happ, and the 35-year-old owns a 2.34 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 57.2 innings.
If Happ, who has great numbers against Boston, puts in a solid shift Friday night, there’s a good chance Aaron Boone turns to him against Oakland in the one-game playoff.
Brian Johnson gets the spot start for the Red Sox, and this is a pretty big start for the big lefty. He’s been Jekyll and Hyde for Boston this season but is still in consideration for the postseason roster.
Johnson has been plagued by home runs this season (1.40 HR/9) and in his one start against the Yankees, he was touched up for three longballs in five innings. He did fare better against them in a few relief appearances, though, and I expect him to empty the tank in this start.
However, we’ll be leaning on Happ in this one.
Compared to their work against righties, the Red Sox struggle against left-handed pitchers, ranking 19th weighted runs created plus (wRC+).
Another reason I’m leaning toward the under is that the temperature will drop down to the 50s in Boston tonight.
Look for Happ to dominate and for Johnson to be serviceable in the early going.
Bet: Under 5 First-5-Innings (-120)
Washington Nationals (+165) at Colorado Rockies (-180)
The hottest team in baseball, the Rockies come into this one on a seven-game winning streak and have a one-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.
The Rockies send out Kyle Freeland, their best pitcher in 2018, to the mound. He’s been nothing short of spectacular at home this season and is on an absolute tear.
Over his last 11 starts, Freeland has a 2.33 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 69.2 innings.
Joe Ross starts for the Nationals and is making only his third start since coming back from Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t been able to put hitters away since his return, allowing 12 hits and striking out three batters in 11 innings. He likely won’t be good enough to keep the Rockies off the ball at Coors Field.
Bet: Rockies -1.5 Runs (-110)