Red Sox at Yankees – ALDS Game 3 Pick for October 8
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were always going to play a close, hard-fought series if they were to get paired in the division series, and that’s exactly what we’ve gotten through the first 2 games. The Red Sox used a J.D. Martinez 3-run home run and an excellent start from Chris Sale to stave off the Yankees in a 5-4 win in Game 1, but the Bronx Bombers bounced back and evened the series by taking Game 2, 6-2. Masahiro Tanaka was excellent in Game 2, while the Yanks also got a pair of home runs from the much-maligned Gary Sanchez.
Now the series will shift to New York City for 2 more. Luis Severino, who was solid in New York’s Wild Card victory over the Oakland A’s last week, will get the start for the Yankees. The Red Sox will counter with former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi, who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in a trade during the regular season.
Aaron Boone had a quick hook with Severino in the aforementioned Wild Card outing. The right-hander lasted just 4 innings, but he escaped the game without allowing a run. He also struck out 7 and walked 4 on 87 pitches. Severino was a bit wobbly over the course of the second half of the season. With the stellar Yankee bullpen backing him up, don’t be surprised if Boone doesn’t give his starter a very long leash here. If he gets himself into some early trouble, New York has no shortage of strong bullpen arms at the ready.
During the regular season Severino had a strikeout rate over 28 percent alongside a solid 3.28 SIERA. His ground ball rate curiously plummeted by about 9 percent compared to last season, but he still only allowed 19 homers in 32 starts. That’s particularly impressive when you consider he pitches his home games in a hitter-friendly ballpark, and the American League East is home to some of the more homer-happy parks in all of baseball.
Severino made 5 starts against the Red Sox during the regular season. He finished 2-2 with a 3.56 ERA, which is solid considering the Red Sox have what may well be the most potent lineup in the league. He allowed 12 home runs in just over 30 innings of work, striking out 31 and walking 10 along the way.
Eovaldi made 22 appearances during the regular season, including 21 starts between Tampa Bay and Boston. The Red Sox started to do some funky things with the rotation down the stretch of the season when they didn’t have much to play for. Eovaldi pitched to a 1.35 ERA in September, but he only threw 20 innings in that span.
The right-hander enjoyed plenty of success against his former club during the regular season. Eovaldi had a 1.93 ERA with a 1-1 record across 4 starts against the Yanks. He struck out 18 in just over 23 innings of work, which includes a 10-strikeout performance at Yankee Stadium on September 18.
The 28-year-old can occasionally touch 100 with his fastball, but he has never really been a big strikeout guy. Most attribute that to the fact that his fastball is pretty straight with little movement. Hitters these days are capable of catching up to 100, especially if the pitch is going to be flat. Eovaldi did have a respectable strikeout rate over 22 percent this season, so perhaps he is finally starting to make the most of that high velocity.
Eovaldi’s 3.71 SIERA and 3.81 ERA are about in lockstep. He had a low walk rate of 4.4 percent during the regular season and he allowed a fairly low hard contact rate under 33 percent. One issue for him has been left-handed hitters. Eovaldi has effectively kept righties in check for the most part, but lefties had a wOBA of .318 against him during the regular season. Fortunately, the Yankee lineup doesn’t have much left-handed thunder outside of Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks. That said, he did allow 14 homers during the year, 7 to hitters of each handedness. We know what kind of damage righties like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are capable of inflicting.
The Red Sox’ bullpen behind Eovaldi is also fairly shaky, which gives me additional pause. The Yankees have a clear advantage when it comes to the pitching staffs between these teams, which means a whole lot more come postseason. If Severino can pitch up to par and keep the Red Sox in check for the most part in this one, I like the Yankees side of this game.
There isn’t a ton of betting value in taking the Yankees to win at -174 on the moneyline, but you can get a +109 price on New York to cover the runline. That’s the bet I’d go for in this one. I think the Yankees take Game 3 and put the Red Sox on the brink of elimination.
$100 stake could win...