The Red Sox remain one game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot in the AL East race. Meanwhile, the Yankees have climbed into sole possession of third place in the division standings after improving to 50-45 through 95 games. New York entered the series riding a four-game winning streak before dropping the series opener 5-4 in Boston on Thursday.
Can New York close the gap in the AL East with a win on the road at Fenway Park against the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon?
Taillon trending up at the right time for New YorkRight-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to get the call for the Bronx Bombers on Saturday. In his first season in New York, the 29-year-old is 5-4 with a 4.60 ERA but he’s been picking things up as of late. Over his last three outings, Taillon has allowed just three runs with 16 strikeouts and five walks in 18 ⅓ combined frames (1.47 ERA). Last time out, the Yankees’ right-hander held the Red Sox scoreless for 5 ⅓ innings of work to escape with the win. New York is 4-1 in Taillon’s last five starts and he’s won three straight decisions during that span.
Jameson Taillon, old long arm action (L) vs. new short arm action (R) pic.twitter.com/rv20cC71xu— David Adler (@_dadler) March 1, 2021
While Taillon has battled through an up-and-down campaign, there are signs that he’s actually pitched better than his overall numbers might indicate. He’s fanned a healthy 9.10 batters and walked just 2.66 batters per nine innings of work in 2021. The Yankees’ flamethrower is also generating swinging strikes at the highest rate of his MLB career (12.1 percent). However, he’s been hurt by the long ball and has given up a career-worst 1.64 home runs per nine this season
The Yankees’ right-hander has made three career starts against the Red Sox, finishing 1-0 with a lights-out 1.53 ERA. According to Baseball Savant, Taillon has limited the current red Sox roster to a .288 batting average in 55 plate appearances ahead of Saturday’s start.
Eovaldi looking to build on career success vs. YankeesBoston will counter with right-handed ace Nathan Eovaldi for the penultimate game of the series on Saturday. The 31-year-old has been a reliable arm at the top of the Red Sox rotation in 2021, going 9-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 19 starts. In his last trip to the mound, the Red Sox ace rebounded from a poor outing by turning in five innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Yankees.
Nathan Eovaldi hits Rougned Odor on his jersey with a 100 MPH fastball and Odor stares at Eovaldi for a little bit pic.twitter.com/jvzCiywK7t— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) July 18, 2021
While Eovaldi’s numbers don’t look elite at first glance, he’s turning in arguably the best season of his 10-year MLB career. His current ERA (3.57) represents a career-best mark and it’s even more impressive when you consider that he’s pitched around an unlucky .330 BABIP. The Red Sox ace has cut his home run rate from 1.49 HR/9 in 2020 to a career-low 0.42 HR/9 in 2021 and he’s posted a healthy home run per fly ball rate of only 5.1 percent, also the best mark of his career.
Eovaldi has already seen the Yankees three times this season and he’s performed well in those matchups, going 2-0 with a stellar 1.44 ERA. In 12 career appearances (nine starts) versus the Yankees, the Red Sox righty is 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA. Per Baseball Savant, the current Yankees’ roster is batting a slim .230 in 140 plate appearances off of Eovaldi heading into Saturday’s contest.
- Yankees are 2-5 in their last 7 vs. American League East.
- Yankees are 0-5 in the last 5 meetings in Boston.
- Yankees are 2-9 in the last 11 meetings.
- Red Sox are 5-0 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
- Red Sox are 7-1 in their last 8 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Since coming over to Boston, Eovaldi has had New York’s number and that trend has spilled over into the 2021 campaign as well. The Red Sox ace has posted a 1.44 ERA in three starts against New York this season while allowing no more than one earned run on any of those occasions. Taillon has been pitching well but has struggled with consistency in 2021 and his struggles with the long ball should also give the Red Sox an edge in this matchup. Take Boston to come out on top at home in this AL East showdown at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon.
Full-Game Total Pick
Runs could be hard to come by for both teams in this one, especially while the starters are in the game. Taillon has posted a healthy 1.47 ERA over his last three starts and he’s also performed well against the Red Sox in his career. Meanwhile, Eovaldi is in the midst of a career year in Boston and is back to dominating the Yankees as a result. He’s allowed no more than one earned run in each of his three starts against New York this year and owns a career-2.88 ERA in 12 appearances (nine starts) versus the Yankees coming into this game. Take the under in this AL East rivalry game on Saturday night.