The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees begin a four-game series in the Big Apple on Thursday night.
The Yankees look to end the regular season strong and claim just their second AL East Championship in the last 10 years. The BoSox haven't been officially eliminated from the postseason but will need to catch on fire and pray for some luck to close the nine-game gap between themselves and the final Wild Card berth.
Here are my best free Red Sox vs. Yankees MLB picks and predictions for September 22.
Red Sox vs Yankees best odds
Red Sox vs Yankees picks and predictions
The Yankees have been incredibly streaky at the plate, captured by the fact that they were second in the majors in OPS in July (.835) and followed up on that with an August where they were 26th (.651).
Sure, they seem to be hot right now, but (with the exception of Aaron Judge) we've seen them go cold time and time again this season. Facing off against Michael Wacha, who is having a career year and shut them down earlier this year, I could see them struggling at the plate.
The Red Sox have a strong lineup that can generate runs and the reason they likely won't make the playoffs is due to shaky pitching. However, with their best pitcher on the mound against a struggling Yankees starter in Jameson Taillon, I like their value as underdogs.
That said, I don't trust this atrocious Red Sox bullpen while the Yankees have one of the best sets of relievers in the bigs, so I'll back the Sox on the first five innings moneyline instead of the full game.
My best bet: First five innings Red Sox moneyline (+140 at FanDuel)
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Red Sox vs Yankees betting preview
After clobbering the Pirates 14-2 last night, the Yankees have the second-best record in the American League (90-58) and a 6.5-game lead on the Blue Jays atop the AL East. The Bronx Bombers are fourth in the majors with an OPS of .753 with that number surging to .837 over the last 15 days.
The Red Sox are four games below .500 and are fresh off a 5-1 loss to the Reds yesterday. Led by Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts the Red Sox have a formidable lineup that ranks ninth in the majors in OPS (.731).
Boston has struggled in the pitching department this season but that can't be blamed on Wacha. Wacha's xERA of 4.07 is significantly worse than his ERA of 2.60 but his career-best numbers in OBA (.216) and WHIP (1.03) indicate that his success isn't due to luck.
Wacha does an excellent job of generating soft contact (ranking in the Top 16th percentile of pitchers in hard-hit rate) and he seldom walks batters. He also looked terrific in his only start against the Yankees this year, limiting them to just two hits through seven innings of shutout ball last month.
The Yankees will send Taillon to the rubber, and in three starts against the BoSox this season, Taillon had one extremely strong performance, one decent start, and an outing where he was shredded for three dingers and six runs in five innings.
Taillon has one of the lowest walk rates in the majors along with terrific spin on his pitches. However, he ranks among the Bottom 15th percentile of pitchers in expected slugging percentage (.435) and has an ERA of 5.21 over the last three months.
The Over/Under hit the board at 8.5 and has since ticked down to 8. With how hot the Yankees have been at the plate lately and Taillon's shaky play over the last few months, the Over might be the play.
With Judge and his MLB-best 60 home runs leading the way, the Yankees are plating 5.82 runs per game in September.
The Red Sox have been producing at the dish as well and are averaging 5.0 runs per game this month which is almost enough to make up for their brutal bullpen which has an MLB-worst 5.46 ERA and an OBA of .262 since the All-Star break.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 7-1 in the Yankees last eight games with the total set at 7.0-8.5. Find more MLB betting trends for Red Sox vs. Yankees
Red Sox vs Yankees game info
• Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
• Date: Thursday, September 22, 2022
• First pitch: 7:15 p.m. ET
• TV: FOX
Michael Wacha (11-1, 2.61 ERA): After a couple of rough seasons with the Rays and Mets, Wacha has recaptured his strong form from earlier in his career with the Cardinals. The 31-year-old has a 3.51 FIP with a 1.03 WHIP and an OBA of .216 in 20 starts. In his previous outing last Friday, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the Royals.
Jameson Taillon (13-5, 4.04 ERA): Taillon has a 1.13 WHIP with a .246 OBA and a 4.04 FIP identical to his ERA. The right-hander has made 29 starts this season and in his last start allowed four runs in five innings of work against the Brewers.
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