BOSTON RED SOX (69-90)
at NEW YORK YANKEES (92-67)
First pitch: Monday, 7:05 p.m. EDT
Line: New York -215, Boston +195, Total: 8
Long since eliminated from playoff contention, the Red Sox will look to play spoiler to their bitter rival Yankees, who sit tied atop the AL East with the Orioles.
Although the Yanks have not secured the division crown, they have a Wild Card berth under their belts at the least. And as they fight for the AL East title, they will receive an important boost from Mark Teixeira, who is expected to return for the first time since September 8 when he re-injured his calf with an ill-advised head-first slide into first base. Ace CC Sabathia takes the mound for New York on Monday with a 3.42 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 14-6 record in 2012. But the Red Sox have destroyed him over the past two years, saddling him with a 1-4 record and 6.81 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in these six starts. That includes a six-inning, six-run performance from earlier this year. Clay Buchholz has a 4.22 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 11-7 for Boston, and he has been one of their lone bright spots lately with a 2.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in his past three starts. And no matter how bad Boston has been this season, it never has trouble playing hard at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox are 15-9 (.625) over the past three seasons in the Bronx. Take BOSTON and the heavy money in this one.
This rare five-star FoxSheets trend also favors the Red Sox:
Play On - All underdogs with a money line of +150 or more (BOSTON) - stranding 6.9 or less runners on base per game on the season, after scoring 4 runs or less 6 straight games. (34-22 over the last 5 seasons.) (60.7%, +39.8 units. Rating = 5*).
Sabathia comes into this game hot off two consecutive eight-inning performances, tallying 21 strikeouts and allowing just two earned runs between the outings. Going deep into games is no problem for him, averaging 7.1 innings per start on the year. He is even better at home, where he has a 2.73 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and tallies 7.4 innings per start. Should he need to be pulled early though, the Yankees bullpen is usually happy to oblige with stellar support. New York relievers have a 3.48 ERA on the season with 51 saves in 64 chances (80%) and a 23-17 record. Hopefully for New York fans, the pitching and the addition of Teixeira can reverse the teamís trend of alternating wins and losses for the past nine games.
While Sabathia is better at home, Buchholz is much nastier on the road where he has a 3.77 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 5-3 record. He also goes deep into games, albeit not as deep as Sabathia, averaging 6.7 innings per start on the year. Boston relievers have been surprisingly solid for them with a 21-20 record this year and 3.77 ERA. They could be needed, given Buchholzís career struggles against New York, with a 2-4 record, 5.84 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in eight career starts. In the last one, he really hurt his numbers, yielding five home runs in a 6-2 loss. The Red Sox have lost five in a row and nine of 10, but are such heavy underdogs here, they deserve the action.