The latest installment of the most historic rivalry in baseball kicks off Friday when the Boston Red Sox host the New York Yankees. The Yankees are five games ahead of their AL East rivals in the standings and they are small road favorites on Friday with -115 moneyline odds compared to the Red Sox’s -105 odds. The over/under is at 10 with -105 odds on the over and -115 on the under. The prediction here is that the Red Sox win and the under hits.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Prediction
Starting pitchers: RHP Domingo Germán (4-3, 3.49 ERA) vs. RHP Tanner Houck (3-6, 5.23 ERA)
It’s going to feel like déjà vu on Friday for these two starting pitchers, who are facing each other for their second consecutive game. They squared off in the Bronx on June 10 and both pitched well but Germán picked up the W in a 3-1 Yankees victory.
Germán allowed just one earned run in six innings in that game, continuing his surprisingly stellar season for the Yankees. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts and his 0.99 WHIP ranks sixth in the majors (though as of today he technically doesn’t qualify).
Houck arguably pitched better in that game than Germán despite taking the L. He didn’t allow his first hit until the fourth inning, which was the first of two home runs he gave up. Those were the only runs and two of only three hits he allowed in six innings.
The Yankees have struggled offensively since Aaron Judge went on the IL on June 4. They were averaging 4.72 runs per game at that point in the season but have scored just 3.44 per game without the reigning AL MVP. They are 4-5 over that span and 8-11 overall when Judge has been on the IL this season.
With their offense stagnant, the Bronx Bombers can’t exactly rely on the long ball to help them win this game. They’re going to rely on pitching, defense and timely hitting, and generally that has not been a successful recipe for them. That’s why I am backing the home team today.
The Yankees’ quiet bats are also part of the reason I am picking the under. The Red Sox offense has also been a bit quiet this month, averaging 3.78 runs per game compared to their season average of 4.89. These teams averaged 4.67 combined runs in their three games last weekend, and I don’t expect a much different outcome this time.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Prediction: Red Sox moneyline (-105), Under 10 runs (-115)
Yankees vs. Red Sox Odds
The Yankees opened as slight favorites on the road with -115 moneyline odds, while the Red Sox are -105. The home team is at -1.5 (+170) on the run line, while the visitors are at +1.5 (-200).
The over/under is at 10 with -105 odds on the over -115 on the under.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Yankees vs. Red Sox.
Tanner Houck vs. Yankees lefties
Germán is the stronger pitcher by the numbers in this matchup, and Houck took the hard-luck L in the last game, but he arguably pitched better than Germán. If he can put together another outing like that one, then my Red Sox moneyline pick in my Yankees vs. Red Sox prediction will be looking very good.
Houck’s splits show he is much better against righties than he is against lefties. He has a 1.40 WHIP against lefties, who are hitting .270 against him, while his WHIP against righties is much stronger 1.11 and he’s holding batters to a .214 average. He has allowed 8 home runs to lefties but just 1 against righties, which happened to be against Gleyber Torres in his last start against New York.
Even without Judge, the Yankees have a righty-heavy lineup with only three lefties expected to start. Perhaps that helps to explain Houck’s strong outing last time, and it could portend another strong start today.
The Yankees have arguably the best bullpen in baseball. Their relief unit leads the majors in ERA (2.75) and batting average against (.209) and they are third in WHIP (1.18).
The Red Sox bullpen is mostly middle of the pack in the league, with a 3.94 ERA (13th), 1.29 WHIP (14th) and .227 BAA (19th). But they outperformed their Yankee counterparts in the three games these teams played last week.
In those games, the Yankees ‘pen pitched 10-2/3 innings allowing two earned runs, seven hits, five walks and striking out six. The Red Sox ‘pen pitched 7-2/3 innings allowing one earned run, five hits, one walk and striking out five.
Considering those three games were decided by a combined four runs, the bullpen performance is likely to be critical to the outcome once again tonight.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Starting Lineups (Projected)
Yankees Starting Lineup
RF Jake Bauers (L)
DH Giancarlo Stanton (R)
2B Gleyber Torres (R)
1B Anthony Rizzo (L)
3B DJ LeMahieu (R)
CF Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R)
LF Willie Calhoun (L)
C Jose Trevino (R)
SS Anthony Volpe (R)
Red Sox Starting Lineup
RF Alex Verdugo (L)
LF Masataka Yoshida (L)
3B Justin Turner (R)
DH Rafael Devers (L)
CF Adam Duvall (R)
1B Triston Casas (L)
2B Christian Arroyo (R)
C Reese McGuire (L)
SS Kike Hernandez (R)