New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox MLB Free Picks

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

By Steven Wisner
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox MLB Free Picks

Sunday marks the second to last game of the season between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees as the two teams are set to battle it out on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The Yankees have owned the Sox on the season, but can Boston get some revenge at home in this nationally televised game or will the Bronx Bombers continue their run of dominance over their hated rivals?

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ESPN Sunday Night Baseball New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

  • Date and Time: Sunday, September 8, 2019, 8:05 p.m. ET
  • Location: Yankee Stadium, New York, New York
  • 2019 MLB Betting Odds at Betcris: (Check Back Later)
  • Yankees vs. Red Sox 2019 MLB TV Coverage: ESPN

Probable Pitchers

Masahiro Tanaka will take the ball for the Yankees on Sunday night looking for better results than the last time he took on the Red Sox.

Tanaka faced Boston on July 25 at Fenway and was hit hard by the BoSox, allowing 12 runs in 3.1 innings of work.

The Yankee right-hander threw better than that in his last start—though he still took the loss—as he allowed just two runs in six frames against the Rangers.

Overall this season, the 30-year old has led the Yankees in innings pitched and was an All-Star. He’s had some second half struggles as his ERA has ballooned to 4.42, but he’s still one of the more reliable arms in a weaker Yankee rotation.

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To go along with his ERA, Tanaka has a 4.33 FIP, inflated a bit by a career worst 3.41 K:BB ratio. He’s not a big swing-and-miss arm, though he does an okay job limiting walks and homers considering his home ballpark is a bandbox.

The Yankees are 17-11 in Tanaka’s 28 games and are 3-2 in his last five. In that time, Tanaka has produced four quality starts, the one exception being a five-run, six-inning appearance against the Athletics.

Opposite Tanaka, the Red Sox are expected to send Rick Porcello to the mound.

Like Tanaka, Porcello is a 30-year old right-hander having a down season. Despite some lackluster numbers, he is still 12-11 and Boston is 16-12 in his starts.

Still, the numbers aren’t encouraging for the righty coming off a poor start against the Twins where he allowed six runs—including two home runs—in just four innings of work.

On the season, the former Cy Young Award winner has a 5.63 ERA and 1.441 WHIP in 153.1 innings spread over 28 starts. He’s going fewer innings per start than Tanaka and has a much worse FIP at 4.94. The struggles this season largely relate to him getting hit harder, leading to a higher BABIP and more homers allowed.

To make matters worse, Porcello has also seen his strikeout rate drop from recent seasons and walk rate increase. That’s not a good combination.

The Yankees provide an extra challenge for Porcello as they’re one of the baseball game’s best offenses. He held them to just three runs in six innings in his last start against them and that was in Boston where he’s pitched better on the season compared to his road ERA of 6.02. Of course, better is relative, as he’s got a 5.44 home ERA this season.

Bullpen Breakdown

The bullpens could play a huge role in this game with the struggles of each starter. If that’s the case, New York is in a good spot.

The Yankees have a rather strong, deep bullpen. The expanded rosters offer Aaron Boone a few extra options with Cory Gearrin, Tyler Lyons and Ryan Dull, all veteran arms. It also allows some talented youngster like Chance Adams and Jonathan Loaisiga to get a chance in short relief appearances.

While that gives the Yankees some extra depth, the top guys are still the focus with Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, and Zack Britton forming one of the best trios in the game.

Sure, Ottavino and Britton have a few too many walks, but both have worked around that with Ottavino striking out a ton and Britton’s sinker working well to generate double plays and key groundball outs.

In Boston, even with expanded rosters, the options are limited for Alex Cora. Brandon Workman has stepped up and is now in the closer’s role. He’s been great. Marcus Walden is a serviceable pitcher. Josh Taylor has been a useful piece, too. But for the most part, the Boston bullpen is a whole lot of numbers, much more quantity than quality.

Offensive Comparison

Simply put, these are two of the best offenses in the game. Minnesota is the only team to outscore these two clubs as New York ranks second in baseball in runs scored with Boston on their tails at third.

Boston has a deep lineup with a quality bat at every position. With Christian Vazquez’s break through offensive season and Jackie Bradley Jr.’s strong second half, the lineup, top-to-bottom, is a threat.

Mookie Betts isn’t having an MVP level season like last year, but he’s still got a .289/.388/.516 slash line. J.D. Martinez has taken a step back, too, but still has 34 homers with a .969 OPS.

What really makes this offenses is the depth. Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt, and Mitch Moreland are all strong contributors, but both Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts have taken their games to new levels.

Bogaerts would likely be a strong MVP candidate if the Sox had the same record and New York. His .310/.386/.574 slash line gives him a team leading 143 OPS+ along with 31 homers and 103 RBI. Devers has 29 jacks and 107 driven in with a .941 OPS.

As strong and deep as the Boston offense is, the Yankees’ offense is even deeper. Like Boston, New York can go nine deep in a lineup with above-average hitters. New York though can also pull guys off the bench with an OPS+ of 110 or better, too.

Even without Giancarlo Stanton and several others, the Yankees have power upon power. There are 10 active players with an OPS+ better than Brett Gardner’s 112. Five players have at least 20 homers and that doesn’t even include Luke Voit who is one away and missed time with an injury or Edwin Encarnacion who has 31 if you count his time in Seattle.

Whether it’s guys like Mike Tauchman stepping up or key homers from Gary Sanchez, the Yankees seemingly always find ways to score early and often.

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The Red Sox are playing some quality baseball of late, winning 12 of their last 17 games, but they’re not alone as New York continues to roll, going 8-2 in their last 10 games.

The Yankees also own the season series against Boston, winning 11 of their 15 head-to-head meetings coming into their weekend series.

As always, this rivalry matchup figures to be a good, hard-fought battle. Playing at home could be a benefit for the Sox, though maybe not. Boston is just 35-35 at home this season and have a much better .580 winning percentage on the road.

The Yankees, meanwhile, are a solid road team themselves with a 39-27 record. That’s not quite as staggering as their .707 home winning percentage, but still puts them in a good position—statistically—for a win on Sunday night.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Free Picks

We should see a lot of runs in this one with both offenses ranking amongst the best in the game and both pitchers having their share of warts.

While Tanaka’s having the better season, he’s struggled against the Sox who appear to have his number this season. Look for that to continue Sunday, but the Yankees should score plenty of runs themselves against Porcello.

Neither starter is likely to go deep in this one, leaving things up to the bullpens. With expanded rosters, there could be a lot of mixing and matching late in the game, making this one a slow-moving contest.

In the end, look for the Yankees’ bullpen to prevail, slowing the Boston offensive onslaught and allowing the Yankees’ bats to take the lead. Then, the Yankees have a strong back-end of the bullpen more-than-capable of closing the door.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Pick: Bank on the visiting Yankees getting the win thanks to a superior bullpen.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Score Prediction: Yankees 9, Red Sox 7

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