Stuckey: How I’m Betting Red Sox-Yankees on Thursday Night

Credit:

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22).

  • The Yankees and Red Sox meet at Fenway Park for the first of a four-game series at 7:10 p.m. ET.
  • Stuckey analyzes the starting pitchers, bullpens and hitters for both teams.

Betting Odds: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Masahiro Tanaka (7-5, 4.00 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (8-7, 5.61 ERA)

  • Yankees odds: -115
  • Red Sox odds: +106
  • Over/Under: 11.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET on MLBN

We last saw these two starters face off against each other in London in a game both Porcello and Tanaka would like to forget. They combined to record just three outs in that meeting, which was tied at six after one inning.

I think this is a tough spot for the Yankees, who will travel to Boston after a night game in Minnesota. In that series against the Twins, the Yankees didn’t get much length from their starters. As a result, their pen is in much worse shape than Boston’s heading into tonight.

In fact, since Tanaka’s last start on Saturday, none of the four Yankee starters have made it past the fourth inning. On the other hand, all four Boston starters went at least six innings over that span. Over the past four games, the Red Sox starters have pitched 25 innings, while the Yankees’ starters have gone just 14.1 innings in the same stretch.

Bullpen Barometer

That pitching trend could catch up with the Yankees in this series. They boast one of the best bullpens in baseball, but might not have the services of closer Aroldis Chapman or reliever Tommy Kahnle. Both have pitched each of the past two nights and Chapman has gone in three of four overall.

On the other side, the Red Sox don’t have as talented of a pen, but will be more rested coming into this series. Also, the Boston bullpen is much more formidable since the recent returns of Heath Hembree and Nathan Eovaldi.

Raking Righties

Both teams have absolutely feasted on right-handed pitching this season. The Yankees own an MLB-leading .838 OPS  against righties and are tied with the Twins with 136 homers against non-southpaws.

The Red Sox aren’t too far behind with an .827 OPS, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise after what this lineup did last year against right-handers. Boston was actually the only team to finish the 2018 season with an OPS greater than .800; there are five clubs over that mark this year so far.

However, I actually think the Yankees’ current lineup will have more success against lefties moving forward with Aaron Judge back in the lineup and the recent acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion.

Both teams have elite  lineups that will hit most pitching, but I actually give a slight edge to the Red Sox against righties for the rest of the season.

Starter Splits

Neither starter has been great this season, especially of late. We can throw out that London game where both of these starters got lit up in horrid pitching conditions. Instead, let’s look at their results last year.

Tanaka, who owns a subpar 4.82 career ERA versus Boston, posted a 7.58 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox last season, pitching only 19 combined innings in four starts.

Plenty of current Red Sox hitters have enjoyed personal success against Tanaka —  especially JD Martinez, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi.

The red-hot Rafael Devers is also 5-of-11 lifetime against Tanaka. Bogaerts and Holt also have respectable head-to-head numbers. Plus, Mitch Moreland (who has two homers off of Tanaka) recently returned from injury. His bat makes their lineup even tougher against righties.

In contrast, Porcello actually enjoyed quite a bit of success against New York last year. The 30-year-old went 2-0 with an impressive 2.31 ERA across four starts versus the Bombers.

A number of the Yankee hitters have not seen Porcello well historically. That includes Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius and Aaron Judge — who are a combined 15-of-85 (.176) vs. Porcello.

Bet to Watch

Since I make the Red Sox a small favorite, I played them as a small home underdog here. I expect the defending champs to go on a run in the coming weeks and eventually secure one of the two American League wild card spots..

The lineup has always been there. The bullpen is now healthy and the starters should get better results over the final two months of the season. I think that push starts tonight.

My Pick: Red Sox +106

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