Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4963 New York Yankees vs.
#4964 Boston Red Sox
Friday, July 23, 2021 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of bitter AL East rivals continue a series on the diamond up in Beantown in the shadow of the Green Monster. The New York Yankees are on the road as they play the second game of a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox Friday night. New York swept a two-game interleague set with the Phillies at home as they earned a 6-5, 10-inning, walk-off victory Wednesday night in the finale. Boston swept a rain-shortened series with the Blue Jays in Buffalo, prevailing 7-4 on Wednesday night. This article was published prior to the conclusion of the series opener between the teams on Thursday night.

New York Yankees Trying to Gain Ground in AL East

New York won for the ninth time in their last 12 games and improved to 4-1 since the All-Star break by sweeping the Phillies in a two-game interleague set. The Yankees entered Thursday third in the AL East, seven games behind the Red Sox for the division lead. In the AL wild card picture, the team stood 3.5 games behind Oakland for the second wild card spot. On Wednesday, New York had nine hits with no player having more than one. Rougned Odor (his 11th) and Gleyber Torres (his sixth) each homered in the contest while Ryan LaMarre’s pinch-hit single in the 10th inning was a walk-off winner. Asher Wojciechowski didn’t factor in the decision as he threw four innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Brooks Kriske (1-0) earned the win as he threw a scoreless 10th, allowing no hits or walks while striking out one.

Gerrit Cole is on the mound for his 20th start of the season for the Yankees in this contest. He comes in 10-4 with a 2.63 ERA, a 0.942 WHIP, 24 walks and 158 strikeouts over 120 innings of work on the year. Cole earned the win in his last start, which came Saturday at home against the Red Sox. He threw six innings, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts in a 3-1 Yankees victory. Pitching on the road this season, Cole is 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA, a 0.867 WHIP, nine walks and 74 strikeouts over 60 innings in nine starts. This marks Cole’s ninth career start against the Red Sox. He comes in 4-2 with a 3.56 ERA, a 1.146 WHIP, nine walks and 56 strikeouts over 48 innings of work in those outings. Cole is 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA, a 1.524 WHIP, six walks and 23 strikeouts over 21 innings in four career starts at Fenway Park.

Boston Red Sox Hoping to Maintain AL East Edge

Boston won both games of what was supposed to be a three-game set with the Blue Jays in Buffalo by prevailing with the power game Wednesday night. The Red Sox entered Thursday holding a one-game edge over the Rays in the AL East race. On Wednesday, Boston got two hits each from Enrique Hernandez (run, two RBI) and J.D. Martinez (two runs, RBI) to lead the way. Martinez (his 20th), Hernandez (his 14th), Hunter Renfroe (his 15th), Michael Chavis (his second) and Rafael Devers (his 24th) each went deep in the win. Garrett Richards (6-5) earned the win as he threw 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Matt Barnes worked a scoreless ninth, striking out one, for his 20th save.

Eduardo Rodriguez gets the ball for his 19th start of the season for the Red Sox in this contest. He comes in 7-5 with a 5.19 ERA, a 1.332 WHIP, 23 walks and 112 strikeouts over 95.1 innings of work this season. Rodriguez earned the win in his last start, which came last Friday on the road against the Yankees. He threw 5.2 innings, allowing no runs on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in a 4-0 Red Sox win. Pitching at home this season, Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 5.16 ERA, a 1.517 WHIP, five walks and 36 strikeouts over 29.2 innings of work spanning five starts. This marks Rodriguez’s 22nd career appearance and 20th start against the Yankees. He comes in 8-6 with a 3.68 ERA, a 1.327 WHIP, 45 walks and 102 strikeouts over 110 innings of work against them. Rodriguez is 27-15 with a 4.10 ERA, a 1.295 WHIP, 127 walks and 393 strikeouts over 377.2 innings in 70 career appearances, 66 starts, at Fenway Park.

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Rodriguez turned in a stellar outing in his last start, which kicked off the second half of the season for the Red Sox. It came against this same New York team but the fact remains that he faces a tough challenge here. The Yankees have found their footing of sorts with nine wins in 12 games entering Thursday and they have their ace on the mound in Cole. We saw Cole shut down the Red Sox in his last start and he’s turned in a couple of solid outings in a row. Boston has been relying on the power game as they went deep 11 times in two games against the Blue Jays, but that’s not something that Cole is prone to giving up on a regular basis. After giving up nine homers in five June starts, he’s allowed only one in three July starts so far. New York has momentum going for them and that, plus another solid outing from Cole, is enough to give the edge to the Yankees here.

Prediction: New York Yankees -108

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We’ve seen Rodriguez’s last 10 starts lead to an average of 11.2 runs per game on the board. Those numbers have dropped a bit in his last three starts as those games have seen only six runs per game on the board. E-Rod has posted a 2.16 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, four walks and 19 strikeouts over 16.2 innings in his last three starts. Meanwhile, Cole is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, seven walks and 29 strikeouts over 18.1 innings in his last three starts. In addition, Cole doesn’t give up much in night games as he is 9-1 with a 1.67 ERA, a 0.778 WHIP, 12 walks and 110 strikeouts over 81 innings in 12 starts. With what we saw Rodriguez do in his last start against the Yankees and the way Cole has pitched, you have to think that this one is going to end up falling short of the number.

Prediction: Under 8.5
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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