Red Sox vs. Yankees MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Can Boston Beat Cole in the Bronx? (Sunday, July 17)
Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Sale
- In the final game before the All-Star break, the Yankees host the Red Sox.
- This will be an elite starting pitching matchup as Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole are slated to take the mound.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and provides a pair of best bets below.
Red Sox vs. Yankees Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+164|
|Time||1:35 p.m. ET|
The sport’s biggest rivalry is heating up. The Red Sox and Yankees will play a lot in the second half of the season, as the two still have nine games against each other before the postseason comes.
However, it’s unlikely we’ll get many repeats of this high profile pitching matchup as Chris Sale makes his second start of the season against perennial Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole.
So, who’s got the edge?
Boston Red Sox: Can Devers Stay Hot?
It’s been a tough month for Boston. Injuries galore, especially in the pitching staff, have led to a 5-10 July record. The Wild Card lead they once held has disappeared into the hands of the Rays and the red-hot Mariners.
Although Boston is lacking wins, there has been no shortage of exciting moments for the Red Sox this month. They’ve picked up three extra-innings wins, two of which came against the Yankees.
The Red Sox started this year 0-6 in extra-inning games and the positive regression machine has pulled into Boston.
The Red Sox have won their last 6 extra-inning games:
5/22 vs. SEA – W 8-4 (10)
6/7 at LAA – W 6-5 (10)
6/29 at TOR – W 6-5 (10)
7/3 at CHC – W 4-2 (11)
7/9 vs. NYY – W 6-5 (10)
7/15 at NYY – W 5-4 (11)
— J.P. Long (@SoxNotes) July 16, 2022
The Red Sox hit the ball as hard as any team in MLB and the offensive results have come. But Boston is slumping right now, having posted the 10th-lowest wRC+ over the past two weeks (88). J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story have all been inconsistent.
Rafael Devers has consistently been a top-five player in baseball and he’s tied for the MLB lead in fWAR with Nolan Arenado (4.6). Devers has also homered five times in seven games, including a first-inning blast on Saturday.
Starting pitcher: Chris Sale (LHP)
After a few injury-riddled turns through the rotation, the Sox are starting to get their pitchers back.
It all starts with Sale.
The Hall of Fame-bound southpaw hasn’t been healthy in four years as he’s made just 10 starts since the 2019 season.
I watched Sale’s Double-A and Triple-A rehab starts in Portland and Worcester. There’s no doubt Sale still has the stuff — a fastball that can touch 97 mph and a slider that’s moving left-to-right and as sharp as ever.
However, Sale couldn’t get his stuff under control. He struck out five Triple-A Yankees, but he also walked five of them, including one with the bases loaded.
Sale looked much sharper in his MLB debut against Tampa last week, not walking a single batter while striking out five over five shutout innings. He looked elite.
Whether that’s sustainable is up for debate. His xERA in that start was 4.28, which indicates he was lucky. But he also allowed just one barrel on 13 batted balls, which indicates the opposite.
New York Yankees: What’s Wrong in The Bronx?
Are the Yankees vulnerable right now?
They’ve lost five of seven, an unfamiliar spot for a team that’s 34 games over .500 before the All-Star Break. The Yankees even had the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the 10th against Boston on Friday and couldn’t convert. They instead lost the game in the 11th.
The Yanks also blew a ninth-inning lead against the Reds early last week, losing 4-3.
Before the past few games, Yankees relievers hadn’t blown a ninth-inning-or-later lead all season. They’ve now done so four times this month.
It’s probably just expected regression. The Yankees bullpen is still arguably the best in baseball and ranks ninth in reliever xFIP over the past two weeks. After all, you can’t be perfect over a full 162-game season.
There’s nothing wrong with the offense, which has posted an MLB-leading 140 wRC+ and a .840 OPS over the past two weeks. The Yankees haven’t surrendered their leads in average exit velocity, barrel rate or hard-hit rate.
Aaron Judge is in an unexpected slump. His OPS dropped below 1.000 on June 30th and he’s slashed .184/.286/.367 in 13 games since. He’s smacked two doubles and two home runs during the stretch, but has also struck out 18 times in 56 ABs (32%).
Starting pitcher: Gerrit Cole (RHP)
Cole has been good this season, but not his dominant self. The numbers reflect that, with an ERA, xERA, FIP and xFIP all sitting around 3.00.
It looks like he’s just been inconsistent. In just his past seven starts, Cole has posted two scoreless outings, but also allowed seven earned runs against Minnesota and five against Boston. The overall numbers even out to a 3.46 ERA, but he’s looked like both a Cy Young candidate and a scrub.
The strikeout numbers haven’t dipped and his fastball is working just fine. If anything, his fastball has been better than ever, holding opponents to a .194 xBA while forcing a third of them to swing and miss. The pitch is now averaging 98 mph and has accumulated a -12 Run Value.
I’m fairly bullish on Cole moving forward. Outside of a slightly-increased walk rate, there’s nothing in his statistical profile that concerns me.
But he has struggled against Boston, both in the past and this season. He’s allowed eight earned over his 10 innings against his arch-rival in 2022 and has an unconvincing 10:4 K/BB ratio.
Red Sox-Yankees Pick
Sale has upside. If he pitches as well as he did against Tampa Bay, the Red Sox will have a very good chance to win this game. Plus, the Yankees are slightly worse against lefties this season.
However, there’s also a chance Sale was lucky against Tampa and is about to have a rude wake-up call against the best lineup in baseball.
In the meantime, Cole may continue to get shellacked by a Boston offense that seems to have his number.
I’d say the Yankees have the bullpen advantage in this game, but that unit has looked increasingly shaky in recent weeks. Plus, Boston ranks 10th in MLB in reliever xFIP over the past two weeks (3.51).
All this leads me in two directions.
First, the Red Sox clearly pose value at such a high number and I would feel comfortable playing their ML down to +150.
Second, the over is good as long as the number sticks at 8. It’s also worth mentioning that the game has gone over the past six times the Yankees and Red Sox have matched up.
Pick: Red Sox ML (+165 at DraftKings, playable to +150) | Over 8 (-105 at DraftKings, playable to -115)