The MLB postseason gets started with a bang on Tuesday night when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox collide at Fenway Park. The two AL East rivals will meet for the right to play the Rays, who won the AL East, in the Divisional Round. On the road, the Yankees are listed as slight favorites at -120 while Boston’s moneyline is set at +100.
The Red Sox barely escaped disaster and a potential play-in game by overcoming a 5-1 deficit to beat the Nationals on Sunday. Of course, before sweeping the Nationals over the weekend, the Red Sox had lost five of their previous six games. That stretch also included getting swept at home by the Yankees despite the fact that they won the season series with their bitter rivals.
As for the Yankees, they also narrowly escaped a disastrous scenario, losing to the Rays on Friday and Saturday before eking out a 1-0 walk-off win on Sunday.
On the other hand, the hot and cold Bronx Bombers were playing better down the stretch. Even if you include their final series with the Rays, the Yankees head to the postseason, winning nine of their last 12 games.
Rather than pitching Gerrit Cole on short rest Sunday, the Yankees have their ace to start in Tuesday’s winner-take-all game. The ace was 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA over 30 starts this year and also owns a 2.68 ERA in 13 postseason starts. However, he’s not pitched particularly well against the Red Sox this year, giving up 12 runs over 22 total innings against Boston’s lineup, giving up five home runs in the process.
The Red Sox surely pose a threat to any team offensively. The trio of Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Rafael Devers led the team all year while also getting plenty of help from Hunter Renfroe, Enrique Hernandez, and Kyle Schwarber.
Over the last couple of weeks, Bogaerts has slumped to the detriment of the team, although Schwarber and Devers have been red-hot, with Jose Iglesias becoming a surprising spark.
The Prodigal Son
It’ll be longtime Yankee Nathan Eovaldi getting the start for the Red Sox against his former team on Tuesday. Eovaldi was an all-star this year, going 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA over 32 starts. However, he got knocked around for seven runs over 2.2 innings when he faced the Yankees late in the season.
Before running into Tampa’s pitching staff this past weekend, the Bronx Bombers had started to live up to their name, scoring at least five runs in eight straight games. The caveat is that the injury bug has struck again, taking away DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit.
On the bright side, both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have come on strong late in the season, while the rest of the New York lineup looks dangerous, at least on paper.
The Red Sox clearly faded down the stretch, including that three-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees. With Eovaldi getting hit hard in one of those games, the Yankees have a chance to get their bats cranking. That should allow them to provide enough run support for Cole and the New York bullpen, so bet on the Yankees to win the Wild Card Game on Tuesday.
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