Zerillo’s Yankees-Red Sox Betting Guide: Rick Porcello and Masahiro Tanaka Tangle Again in Boston

Credit:

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches at Fenway Park.

Sep 08, 2019, 12:00 PM EDT

Betting Odds: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Probable starters: Masahiro Tanaka (10-8, 4.42 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (12-11, 4.64 ERA)

  • Yankees odds:  -120
  • Red Sox odds: +100
  • Over/Under:  11
  • First pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET on ESPN

Odds above as of 2:00 p.m. ET and via PointsBet

The Yankees (93-50) and Red Sox (76-66) have split the first two games of their current series – and the Yankees have been a slight favorite in all three games this weekend.

They lost 6-1 as a -125 favorite on Friday, won 5-1 as a -118 favorite on Saturday and opened as a -135 favorite for Sunday before being bet down to their current number.

With James Paxton going against Eduardo Rodriguez to close out the series on Monday,  they’re sure to be a favorite in that game too.

The Yankees have a 12-5 record head-to-head against their biggest rival this season, outscoring the Red Sox 110-99. If the Yankees can win the final two games of the season series, they can all but put an end to the Red Sox championship reign – as Boston continues to fall off of the playoff pace.

Who has the edge in what looks to be the penultimate Yankees-Red Sox matchup in 2019?

The Starters

Both pitchers have fallen off in 2019.

Tanaka’s fastball velocity has declined, partially causing his swinging strike rate to dip by 4% over 2018, as batters have made contact on pitches outside of the zone 9% more often:

Tanaka’s strikeout minus walk rate is down 5.7% from 2018 – though his batted ball data has remained relatively stable.

Based on per pitch value, Tanaka has the seventh-best slider in baseball this season, just behind Patrick Corbin.

But his splitter is showing negative value for the first time in his career, and he hasn’t decreased its usage.

Similar to Tanaka, Rick Porcello is no longer getting the whiffs that he’s used to outside of the zone, and his strikeout rate is down 5.6% over 2018:

Porcello’s flyball rate has also trended upwards throughout his career, and his current rate of 43% is easily a career-high (average 32.2%)

With more balls in play and more of those balls being hit in the air, Porcello has developed a home run problem – allowing 93 in his past 94 starts dating back to 2017.

The Yankees rank second in MLB with 265 home runs.

The Bullpens

Aaron Boone does an excellent job of managing the Yankees bullpen rest, and everyone should be available for Sunday – but I would guess that he wouldn’t want to use Adam Ottavino; who has already pitched three times this week including Saturday.

With expanded September rosters, the Red Sox have more than 15 pitchers in their bullpen, but several have thrown three times this week: Andrew Cashner, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, Marcus Walden, Ryan Weber, and Brandon Workman might all be feeling it today – though Workman is the only member of that group who hasn’t pitched in this series.

Bobby Poyner also entered both games – so he might be out of this one.

Brian Johnson seems set to serve as the long man if Porcello gets knocked out early – and the Yankees offense feasts against lefties.

Boston would likely turn to Matt Barnes and Workman late in a close game.

Umpire and Weather Report

Data per Sports Insights

Trends to Know

74% of the profit from unders in games where Mike Muchlinski is listed as the head umpire has come in closed domes (23-14-1) – so I wouldn’t blindly bet the umpire trend here.

Home dogs are 52-48 (52%, +13.6 units, 13.6% ROI) with Muchlinski behind the dish and 26-20 (+9.6 units) in divisional games.

Favorite Bet

I projected this game as a coinflip, listing the Yankees as a 50.07% favorite, so I don’t see value on either side based upon the current line. I projected the total for 10.57 runs, and also don’t see value on the total. 

More than 60% of the cash and tickets on the moneyline are behind the Yankees, but the line has only experienced reverse movement towards Boston — indicating sharp action on that side — so if you need to play a team, I would go with the home dog.

The best bet on the board might be to play Tanaka over 4.5 strikeouts at plus money. The Action Network projects Tanaka for 5.3 strikeouts on Sunday night.

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@SeanZerillo

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