New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox -172

Games Total: 7.5

Game Play Predictions

New York Yankees

  • Chris Sale will take the ball for the Red Sox in Game 1 after throwing just 17 innings since July 27 due to shoulder inflammation.

  • Sale went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA in the regular season. Sale allowed three runs on four hits with eight strikeouts in 4.2 innings against the Orioles in his last start Saturday.

  • Sale’s average fastball velocity has been down in each of his last three starts, clocking in at 94.4 mph on September 16, 92.8 mph on September 21 and 90.2 mph on Saturday. Saturday’s average velocity was his lowest mark since April 15. In fact, Sale’s average fastball velocity was at least 96.2 in each of his last eight starts heading into his September 16 outing against the Mets.

  • The Red Sox believe they have identified and corrected a mechanical flaw that was responsible for the decreased velocity, but we should obviously keep an eye on his velocity in the first inning, as that could inform how we feel about subsequent props.

  • Sale allowed one earned run with 19 strikeouts in 13 innings across two starts against the Yankees, though both of those starts came before July.

  • If Sale is able to go deep into this game, we shouldn’t expect his performance to fall off too much. Sale has a 2.09 ERA the first time through the order this season, a 1.62 ERA the second time through and a 3.19 ERA the third time through the order.

  • Sale’s 13.50 K/9 this season was a career high, and it was tops in baseball among pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched.

  • Current Yankees are batting a combined .193 against Chris Sale .

  • The most notable exception is Aaron Hicks , who is 8-for-25 against Sale.

  • Aaron Judge is 3-for-18 against Sale, while Gary Sánchez is 3-for-20.

  • If Sale isn’t himself or can’t go deep into the game, the Yankees could score a bunch in the later innings. The Boston bullpen has a 4.84 ERA this season. Boston’s bullpen had a 6.75 ERA in 19 games against the Yankees this season.

  • While we think of the Yankees as having this prolific offense, that hasn’t exactly been the case away from Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have a .744 OPS on the road, good for ninth in MLB.

  • Sale allowed a 44.2 percent groundball rate this season.

Boston Red Sox

  • Happ is 7-0 in 11 starts with the Yankees this season.

  • In his four starts against the Red Sox, Happ is 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA. Happ is 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 10 games at Fenway Park.

  • Happ is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 postseason appearances, including three starts.

  • J.A. Happ has a 2.90 ERA the first time through the order, a 2.51 ERA the second time through the order and a 6.47 ERA the third time through the order this season.

  • If Steve Pearce gets a start Wednesday, now you know why: Pearce is 11-for-32 with six home runs against J.A. Happ .

  • The rest of the Red Sox have struggled against Happ, most notably Sandy León is 1-for-10, Jackie Bradley Jr. 3-for-20, Xander Bogaerts 5-for-31, Andrew Benintendi 2-for-18, Rafael Devers 2-for-12, J.D. Martínez 4-for-20 and Mookie Betts 7-for-34 with two homers.

  • J.A. Happ has a 40.1 percent ground ball rate this season, his lowest since 2013. His 42.4 percent flyball rate is his highest since that same year.

  • The good news for Boston is several of their players ended the season on a high note despite getting multiple days off to rest. Xander Bogaerts was 14-for-27 over the last two weeks of the season.

  • Andrew Benintendi went 7-for-14 over the last week of the regular season, while J.D. Martínez went 6-for-14 with two home runs. Rafael Devers went 5-for-15 over the last seven days, while Mookie Betts was 4-for-7.

  • Only the Rockies had a higher home OPS than the Red Sox .829 mark this season.


Pre-Game Predictions

1. Either team scores in the 1st Inning (5x yes/ 1.5x no)

NO. In my mind, this comes down to how you feel about Chris Sale . J.A. Happ has been good for the Yankees, good the first time through the order and very good against the Red Sox. Sale was a Cy Young candidate before he got hurt, but his velocity has been down significantly his last two starts. I think Sale is probably fine, and both pitchers get through the first inning unscathed.

2. Both teams have a batter reach base in the 1st Inning (4x yes/ 1.8x no)

NO. The Yankees have a .331 OBP against lefties this season, but as we mentioned above, they haven’t fared well against Chris Sale . The Red Sox have a .325 OBP against leftwise, but they also haven’t done well against J.A. Happ . I think it’s more neither team reaches in the first than both teams reach.

3. 2 or more BOS batters strikeout in the 1st Inning (4.5x yes/ 1.6x no)

NO. I guess I think the first inning is going to be pretty boring. The Red Sox have a 22.5 percent strikeout rate against lefties this season. J.A. Happ has a 26.3 percent strikeout rate this season. If you figure Happ strikes out one in every four batters in this game, the odds of getting two in the first inning are pretty low. Mookie Betts has a minuscule 13.5 percent strikeout rate against lefties, and Steve Pearce has been even better at 13.4 percent. The rest of the top of the order has been pretty good against lefties as well, with Andrew Benintendi at a 24.4 percent strikeout rate, J.D. Martínez at 22.8 percent and Xander Bogaerts at 20.5 percent.

4. M. Betts (BOS) takes 2 or more called balls (3x yes/ 2x no)

YES. I was bound to say Yes some time. Mookie Betts has swung at just 19.8 percent of pitches outside the zone, so if J.A. Happ nibbles, Betts will probably take. Betts has seen 4.2 pitches per plate appearance this season, which should help his odds of taking two called balls. Happ has thrown just 40.1 percent of his pitches in the strike zone this season, a career low.