Desperately looking to capture their first win this season against the (45-31) Boston Red Sox, the (40-35) New York Yankees get set for game two of their three-game series today at Fenway Park (7:15 PM ET Saturday; TV: Live on Fox).
It is hard to believe it, but the Yankees are 0-4 against the Red Sox this year. The teams went the first two months of the season without seeing each other, meeting for the first time in early June. The series was held at Yankee Stadium, where New York has historically done well against Boston. But not this time, not this year. The Red Sox swept the three-game set, 5-2, 7-3 and then won in extra innings, 6-5, to complete the bringing out of the brooms. It left a little bit of shell-shocked feelings among the New York faithful.
Coming into that series, the Yankees had been struggling all season long against their AL East opponents (8-14 against divisional opponents over .500 – excludes the Baltimore Orioles), but there was some sense that if the Yankees could win the series against the hated Red Sox, it could be a turning point. Well, it wasn’t. In some ways, it seems to have been the exact opposite.
The loss to the Red Sox should have been a wake-up call for the struggling Bronx Bombers, but New York has continued to play .500 or just a little above it, baseball, since that early June sweep. Nothing seems to be going right for the Yankees, who now find themselves five games back of the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays and facing down two more games against the Red Sox at Fenway. For both pride and the standings, the Yankees have to leave Boston this weekend with at least one win. They would prefer two of course, and with it a rare series win over a contending AL East opponent. Another sweep would be devastating and would certainly force the team to make a tough decision come July’s trade deadline.
Yesterday’s game one saw both the Yankees and Red Sox score early as the starters for both teams struggled in the first inning. It was Boston’s Martin Perez who settled down over his next 2.2 innings, not giving up another run. The Yankees’ Domingo German however, ceded a fourth run to Boston in his four innings on the mound to break the 3-3 tie left over from the first inning.
As it would turn out, that was the only other run the Red Sox would need as their bullpen would hold it down over the rest of the game en route to a 5-3 victory. This wasn’t just Boston’s fourth win over New York either. It was their third of four wins to come by at least two runs or more. Only the game three finale of the first series, has so far been decided by one run.
On paper, the Yankees have a great roster, top-to-bottom. They’ve been hit by injuries, sure, but this was a team that in the preseason had many calling the AL’s World Series favorite to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both of those outcomes may be in doubt now though, as you simply don’t win games on paper. You have to go out and play them. Right now, the Yankees aren’t fulfilling their end of the bargain when it comes to taking the field and playing those games.
The Red Sox on the other hand, have hit a rough patch themselves, allowing the Rays to surge back into first place in what feels like a seesaw of a division right now. The four top teams are all separated by just 6.5 games. The AL East is full of powerhouses now as even the Toronto Blue Jays have jumped into the conversation. Every win against a divisional opponent matters, especially now, so for both teams, today’s contest is pivotal. For the Yankees though, it might even just be a must-win game.
Game Two Pitching Probables (NYY – Jordan Montgomery vs BOS – Nathan Eovaldi)
Yankees’ pitcher Jordan Montgomery has pitched solidly this year, even if he has just three wins in his 14 outings to show for it. However, it should be worth noting that all three of those wins have come against the AL East. While Montgomery may not be reaping the rewards of his starts, he’s also not suffering the blowback either. The 28-year-old has just one loss in that same span and the Yankees as a team, are an exceptional 11-3 when Montgomery takes the mound. The Yankees have won all six of Montgomery’s last six starts as the lefty hasn’t been great, but has done enough to keep his team in games.
Montgomery is coming off one of the best games of his season so far, holding the Oakland Athletics to just three hits and one run over 5.1 really good innings. He’ll have the first shot to stop the bleeding against Boston, before Yankee’s ace Gerritt Cole gets his shot in the Sunday finale.
Taking the mound for Boston is 31-year-old Nathan Eovaldi, who is having a strong season for the club. Eovaldi is 7-4 in his 15 outings this year, however his team’s track record when he pitches is just 9-6. That’s not all on Eovaldi however as his 3.90 ERA is among the top-50 in baseball.
Eovaldi has had some struggles however, giving up runs in big chunks at times this year. He has also had pristine outings, holding opponents to one-run or fewer in just under half of his games pitched. Eovaldi was one of the winning pitchers of record the last time Boston took on New York, as he held the Yankees to just one unearned run and walked none over his six innings pitched. Like it has so often this season, the Red Sox bullpen took care of the rest.
Boston and New York both taxed their bullpens a little yesterday so both teams will be looking for their starters to go at least five, maybe six innings in advance of Sunday’s day game finale. Eovaldi has done that more often than Montgomery this year, but when on, both of these pitchers are more than capable. As far as this series has gone, this should be a pretty even pitching matchup for tonight’s game.
So now we come to the predictions and betting picks for this MLB game 2 preview:
- The leading sportsbooks for American bettorspeg Boston as favorites (-1.5) but our bet is to take the Yankees (+1.5) to finally get a win over their rivals. New York has had a lot of problems and historically, one of their main bats has been awful against the Red Sox, but it’s rare in this series to see one team win a cluster of games over the other when both are in contending status. So, take the Yankees +1.5 on the spread @ best odds of -174 with BetOnline.
- Look for the over on the 10 runline @ best odds of -105 with Bookmaker.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.