NEW YORK YANKEES (80-62)
at BOSTON RED SOX (64-79)
First pitch: Thursday, 7:10 p.m. EDT
Line: New York -145, Boston +135, Total: 9Ĺ
Tied with the Orioles atop the AL East, the Yankees will look to take the rubber game of their three-game set with the archrival Red Sox, who are out of contention and looking to play spoiler.
The Red Sox have been just dreadful lately, with losses in 12 of their past 14 games, a span in which they have reached five runs just twice. Felix Doubront takes the hill for Boston looking to reverse the teamís fortunes, but heís been just as much of the teamís problem. He is 0-4 with an 8.27 ERA in his past seven starts, and has struggled even more in his past three outings with a 10.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP and 0-2 record. The Red Sox will face Phil Hughes, who has a 14-12 record as a starter in 2012 with a 4.13 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Heís coming off a strong win against the Orioles and has won two consecutive starts in 2012 against Boston, combining for 14 innings and three earned runs (seven total runs) in those outings, both wins. Ultimately the Yankees excel against left-handed starters with a 31-22 (.585) record against them, and the Red Sox struggle against righties with a 39-58 (.402) mark, the fourth-worst such record in the majors. And given Bostonís woes lately, play on NEW YORK to take this one.
This rare five-star FoxSheets trend also backs the Yankees:
BOSTON is 9-28 (24.3%, -28.9 Units) against the money line in September games over the last 2 seasons. The average score was BOSTON 4.7, OPPONENT 6.0 - (Rating = 5*).
Hughes is 2-1 in his past five starts with a 2.81 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He has given up the second-most homers in the majors (33), but has an excellent 3.6 K-to-BB ratio (141 Kís, 39 BB). In his career, he is 3-5 with a 5.84 ERA against the Red Sox, but those past two outings are encouraging. It also helps that he can rely on a bullpen with a 3.08 ERA and 24 saves in 29 chances (83%) on the road this year. Although 1B Mark Teixeira remains out (calf), the Yankees should have no problem beating this team in Fenway Park, where they are 6-2 already this season.
The Red Sox may have to play this game without Dustin Pedroia (wife pregnant), which could mean bad things for Doubrontís run support. Doubront has been quite good against the Yankees in his career, with a 1-0 record (team 2-1), 2.41 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 10.1 Kís/9 in three starts, all coming this year. However, New Yorkís 5.4 runs per game against southpaws could mean he is due to get hit around again. The Yankees offense is averaging 6.4 per runs over their past seven games, an output the struggling Boston lineup cannot match.