Friday MLB Preview – Red Sox at Yankees

The greatest rivalry in baseball kicks off an important three-game series in the Bronx with a pair of right-handed starters on the mound.

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Boston picked up a 6-2 victory in the final game of a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians and now will head off for a 10-day, 10-game road trip to New York, Toronto and Texas.  We’re probably going on as it looks right now the most important road trip of the season, most important 10 games of the season,” said second baseman Bill Hall.  The Red Sox are in third place in the AL East division and sit 5.5 games back of tonight’s opponent.  In losing first baseman Kevin Youkilis for the year, the club will be leaning on All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre more than ever.  He is hitting .336 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs.  The Red Sox are 20-21 against the division this year (-570) and 106-86 versus the AL East over the last three years (+230).  Boston brings a 3-1 record into this contest as a road underdog of +125 to +150 this season (+320).

Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz is 11-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 18 starts this season and has led the team to consecutive victories.  In those outings, he has allowed just three runs (two earned) and seven hits over 15 innings.  He is 6-2 with a 2.36 ERA in nine road starts, as opponents are hitting for a combined .219 average.  The right-hander is a sparkling 10-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 13 nighttime starts in comparison to a 1-2 mark and 5.09 ERA during the day.  In four career starts against the Yankees, Buchholz is 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA, including a 14-3 home loss on May 8.  He surrendered six runs (five earned) and nine hits in five innings of work in that contest.

New York leads the AL East by just a half game and is hoping to bury the third place Red Sox over the weekend.  “Obviously, we’ve got an important series coming up,” said manager Joe Girardi.  Both teams are tied for the second-best record in the Majors since the last time they met, with their 41-26 marks behind only the Chicago White Sox.  The Yankees are 25-16 against divisional opponents this year (+280) and the total stands at 24-15 O/U in those games.  Enjoying a summer break on Thursday, the team is looking to improve upon its 8-5 mark when playing with a day off this season (-10), while producing an even 27-27 record the last three years (-1,050).  New York plays 12 of its next 18 games at Yankee Stadium, a place where they’ve compiled an impressive 35-17 record (+320).

Yankees starting pitcher Javier Vazquez is 9-7 with a 4.61 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts) this season and has led the team to three consecutive wins.  In those outings, he has allowed 11 runs and 22 hits over 18.1 frames, with the offense providing 18 runs of support over that span.  The right-hander is 6-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 night outings this season compared to an even 3-3 mark and 6.16 ERA during the day.  Vazquez enjoyed a perfect July, posting a 3-0 record and 3.34 ERA, which has given him back-to-back quality months (3-2, 3.23 ERA in June).  In 12 career games (10 starts) against the Red Sox, he is 3-7 with a 4.21 ERA, but has fanned 74 batters in just 66.1 innings.

Bettors must be aware that the Red Sox are 11-0 in Buchholz’s last 11 starts to kick off a series and they are 11-2 in his last 13 road outings.  New York is no slouch against right-handed starters, producing a 46-25 record this season (+690).

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