Lo Duca: Happ Gives Yankees a Chance Against Red Sox
USA Today Sports. Pictured: J.A. Happ, Chris Sale
Betting odds: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
- Yankees moneyline: +162 (J.A. Happ)
- Red Sox moneyline: -180 ( Chris Sale)
- Over/Under: 8 (+100/-120)
- First pitch: 7:32 p.m. ET
- Channel: TBS
>> All odds as of 12 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets
The rivalry is back, and this series should be a lot of fun. The Yankees slugged their way past the A’s in the wild-card game with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit leading the way.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, have had the division on lock for some time, so it will be interesting to see if they are in rhythm. Boston also hasn’t played since Sunday, while the Yankees saw live pitching on Wednesday night.
Considering how many right-handed hitters are in the Yankee lineup, it’s not surprising that the Bombers excelled against left-handed pitching in 2018. They were first in homers (82) and walk rate (10.5%) and in second in OPS (.800) and wOBA (.342).
Sale isn’t your ordinary lefty, but if there’s one team that can get to him, it’s Aaron Boone’s side. Especially when you consider that this probably won’t be peak Sale.
The seven-time All-Star has thrown only 17 innings since July 27 and he hasn’t looked like the same pitcher since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 11. He seems to be just a bit off mechanically since then, and his velocity has dipped. Boston’s manager, Alex Cora, said he isn’t worried, but it’s hard to say whether Sale will be at his best considering he hasn’t completed six innings since July 27.
The Yankees will also be trotting out a lefty for Game 1, and Happ has been nothing but solid since being traded to New York from Toronto. Overall he’s posted a 3.65 ERA, 3.88 xFIP and 9.78 K/9 in 177.2 innings this season.
While the Yankees fare much better against lefties than righties, the opposite is true of their rivals. The Red Sox posted a .719 OPS and .313 wOBA in nearly 1,600 plate appearances against lefties in 2018.
All Happ needs to do is keep pace with Sale in this one as the Yankees have the edge in the bullpen. Craig Kimbrel is a fantastic closer for the Red Sox, but it’s hard to say you truly trust anybody else out there. Ryan Brasier has been great this season, but we’re talking about a 31-year-old with 42.2 career innings under his belt.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have a very deep ‘pen that includes lefties Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and newcomer Stephen Tarpley.
There’s no arguing that the Red Sox are more likely to win this game, but the Yankees are the value side. The pitching matchup is a lot closer than it looks on the surface, and for a +162 underdog, the Yanks have a lot going for them.
Bet: New York Yankees (+162)