The rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox isn’t just the best rivalry in baseball, it’s arguably the best rivalry in sports.
This is the first time these two will meet up at Fenway this season and the first series the rivals have played since Opening Day Weekend.
Which team has the edge?
Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my predictions for this Thursday’s matchup.
New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox Odds
The Yankees are in death mode – they’re on pace to win 116 games – and have their ace on the mound in Gerrit Cole. Cole started the season weakly but has started to pitch like a former Cy Young winner again.
So, the Yankees should be favored.
But the Red Sox might be undervalued with Josh Winckowski on the mound. The rookie has strung together a few very impressive starts, although he may be slightly overperforming.
The Red Sox also need this series after dropping a series to the Rays.
The wind is projected to be blowing out to left field at about 9mph, but that would drive balls straight into the monster. I still am looking towards the over in this spot.
New York Yankees Starting Lineup
G. Cole R
7-2 2.99 ERA
1B D.J. LeMahieu R
CF A. Judge R
DH A. Rizzo L
RF G. Stanton R
3B J. Donaldson R
2B G. Torres R
LF A. Hicks S
SS I. Kiner-Falefa R
C J. Trevino R
New York Yankees vs Josh Winckowski
Winckowski has put together an impressive start to his young career. Five starts with a 3.12 ERA and a 0.6 fWAR is great for your first five starts. He’s managed to suppress hard-hit balls and barrels to the point where he doesn’t need to rely on strikeouts or whiffs.
It’s also impressive he’s kept his FIP below 3.00 despite striking out less than seven batters per nine innings. Some of that is due to his super-low HR/FB rate (4.8%), and that will rise, but his control has been impressive.
But can he hold down the Yankees? The Bronx Bombers lead the league in avg. exit velocity, barrel rate, and hard-hit rate. Plus, they’re led by three of the top sluggers in the game at the top of the lineup in Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Rizzo.
But the Yankees could be slightly overvalued right now. They’ve posted just a 94 wRC+ over the last two weeks and are just 2-2 in the month of June with a loss to Pittsburgh. It’s a good time for Winckowski to continue building momentum against better-and-better offenses.
Boston Red Sox Starting Lineup
J. Winckowski R
3-2 3.12 ERA
CF J. Duran L
3B R. Devers L
DH J. Martinez R
SS X. Bogaerts R
LF A. Verdugo L
2B T. Story R
1B F. Cordero L
C C. Vazquez R
RF J. Bradley L
Boston Red Sox vs Gerrit Cole
Through 12 starts this season, Cole had a very respectable 3.63 ERA and 3.55 FIP. However, it was actually the highest ERA in the Yankees’ five-man rotation at the time, which is more a comment on how good the Yankees’ pitching staff is than Cole himself.
But he’s pitched 26 ⅓ innings over his last four starts – or 6 ⅔ per start – with a 1.37 ERA and 33 strikeouts. That includes two starts against the Rays and Astros where he pitched seven innings of one-run ball in each starts and recorded double-digit strikeouts both times.
So, Cole is essentially back to his old self. That’s scary for the Red Sox.
But the Red Sox have had success against Cole in the past. In 200 lifetime PAs against Cole, current Boston batters have posted an xSLG pushing .500 and an avg. exit velocity above 92mph. He allowed three earned runs over just four innings on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium this season and pitched to a 6.75 ERA in four starts against the BoSox in 2021.
Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and JD Martinez have hit a combined nine home runs off him over 100 PAs, which should scare Yankee backers.
New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox Pick & Prediction
My pick: Boston Red Sox First Five Innings ML (+135 at BetMGM Sportsbook)
I’m somewhat buying the Winckowski momentum against a Yankee lineup that is slumping. And I love betting against great lineups that are slumping because it means we’re getting a very overvalued lineup by the market’s standards.
I generally like fading Cole against anyone, but it’s even better against the Red Sox given Boston has had real success against the Yankee ace. Remember the AL Wildcard game last season?
I have no interest in messing with the bullpens because Boston’s is a mess and the Yankees have one of the best relief cores in baseball.
But in the first half, I love the Red Sox getting solid plus-money odds.