New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox – MLB, AL Wild-Card Game
After a wild month of September that saw the AL Wild Card picture change many times, the Boston Red Sox will host the New York Yankees in a win or go home matchup. The winner of this game will advance to take on the Tampa Bay Rays.
The two teams finished with identical 92-70 records, but the Red Sox 10-9 advantage in the season series earned them home-field advantage. However, you can throw all that past success out in the playoffs.
Let’s break down the AL Wild-Card Game and check out my pick.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Odds for October 5th
Despite being the home team, Boston opens as the underdogs.
Following a seven-game win streak, Boston went 4-5 over their final nine games. That includes losing three home games to the Yankees.
In addition to their wins over Boston, New York closed the season 9-3. It’s clear they enter the postseason with more momentum.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Matchup Breakdown
When it comes to the postseason, it’s all about the pitching. Let’s break down the starting pitchers for this matchup.
Gerrit Cole vs. Nathan Eovaldi
As they should, both teams will send their ace to the mound.
Surprisingly, Cole has never won a Cy Young award. However, the four-time all-star has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for years.
Cole’s 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 243 strikeouts, and 5.6 WAR all ranked second in the AL. His biggest competition for the Cy Young award, Robbie Ray, ranked first in all those categories.
Over the second half of the season, we did see Cole’s numbers slip a bit. Let’s compare his numbers from pre and post all-star break.
|Pre All-Star Break (18 games)||Post All-Star Break (12 games)|
|Opponent Batting Average||.203||.255|
His numbers aren’t terrible but there is room for improvement.
In four starts against Boston this season, Cole has never made it past the sixth inning. He allowed more than three runs in one of those four matchups.
For the Boston Red Sox, we’ll see Nathan Eovaldi take the mound.
Eovaldi doesn’t have the same track record as Cole but we’ve seen him take on the role of the ace for the Red Sox.
In the shortened 2020 season, Eovaldi had a 3.72 ERA. This season, he showed he can perform at the same level over a full season.
- 3.75 ERA
- 1.19 WHIP
- 195 Strikeouts
- 4.6 WAR
He earned his first all-star selection as well.
Unlike Cole, we’ve seen Eovaldi’s numbers remain consistent in the first and second half of the season. His ERA is slightly up in the second half, but his WHIP and opponent batting average are down.
In his first five starts against the Yankees this season, Eovaldi allowed no more than two runs. However, New York roughed him up for seven runs on September 24. Eovaldi didn’t make it out of the third inning.
We can’t confirm the exact starting lineup for the AL Wild-Card game, but we have a good idea of who will be taking their swings off the two all-stars.
When the New York Yankees beat up on Nathan Eovaldi in late September, they had DJ LeMahieu leading off. LeMahieu recently went on the IL, so he won’t be available for this matchup.
Without him, the lineup will likely look something like this.
- Gleyber Torres
- Anthony Rizzo
- Aaron Judge
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Joey Gallo
- Gio Urshela
- Brett Gardner
- Gary Sanchez
- Tyler Wade/Rougned Odor/Andrew Velazquez
Stanton has a pair of home runs against Eovaldi this season. He recently had a four-game streak with home runs, with three coming against the Boston Red Sox.
Judge is 8/20 with a home run against Eovaldi this season, while Rizzo is 5/9 with three doubles. Rizzo’s overall play makes him a player to watch when it comes to contract extensions.
They have their heavy hitters, but it’s all about who can step up when the ball isn’t flying out of the park.
Their 829 runs scored ranked fifth in the majors, over 100 ahead of the Yankees. However, Boston scored only 24 more runs than the Yankees in the second half.
We know Boston’s lineup consists of heavy hitters like Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez, Alex Verdugo, Kyle Schwarber, and Hunter Renfroe. Their lineup doesn’t have any weaknesses.
Unfortunately, all of those guys have struggled against Cole this season. Verdugo is the only one among that group that is hitting above .215 against Cole. Devers does have three home runs and eight RBIs, while Martinez has a pair of home runs.
With this lineup against Cole, it’s almost like an immovable object vs unstoppable force.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Prediction
Both offenses are playing pretty well right now. Even so, the postseason is all about pitching. Cole’s numbers show he has what it takes to shut down the Boston Red Sox.
From there, you have to factor in the bullpens. The Yankees finished with the second-best ERA in the AL, while the Red Sox had the sixth-best.
Yankees vs. Red Sox Pick
If this was any other New York Yankees starting pitcher, I’d probably pick the Boston Red Sox because of their offense. However, I just don’t think they’ll be able to solve Gerrit Cole. They haven’t been able to all season and I don’t expect it to change now.
While Nathan Eovaldi has been Boston’s ace, he is susceptible to bad outings. We saw that less than two weeks ago against the Yankees. He may only allow two runs, but that may be all Cole needs.
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