Sunday Night Baseball: Yankees vs. Red Sox

For the second straight week, the New York Yankees are on Sunday Night Baseball, but instead of a potential World Series preview against the Los Angeles Dodgers, they’ll take on their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox. It will be Marcus Stroman for the visiting favorites and Kutter Crawford for the home underdogs in the final game of this weekend series.

How to Watch Yankees vs. Red Sox

Where: ESPN


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When: Sunday June 16, 7:10 p.m. ET

Yankees vs. Red Sox MLB Odds

New York Yankees -135 // Boston Red Sox +114

Total: 9 (-115/-105)

Yankees vs. Red Sox Game Preview

If history repeats itself, the Yankees will win this game and you don’t need to put a whole lot of thought into the handicap. That is because this year’s Red Sox have not been more than one game above or below .500 since May 22 when they were 26-24. They have been .500 at 26-26, 27-27, 28-28, 29-29, 30-30, 31-31, 32-32, 33-33, 34-34, and 35-35. Right now, they are 36-35 after yesterday’s 8-4 win.

The Red Sox should be better than a middling ballclub. They rank third in pitcher fWAR and 13th in wRC+ at 102, so the offense is slightly above average and the pitching has been stellar. They are even 7-5 in one-run games and have a Pythagorean Win-Loss record of 39-32 based on their run differential. FanGraphs also paints them as the unluckiest team in baseball with a 43-28 record per BaseRuns, a context-neutral standings metric that measures expected runs scored and runs allowed based on individual plate appearances.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are simply a machine. They’re the first team in baseball to 50 wins and are tied for the league’s top offense with runners in scoring position, posting a 140 wRC+. They are also tied for the league lead overall in wRC+ at 122 with the Dodgers. The pitching staff ranks 10th in fWAR and has been very fortunate with a league-high 78.5% LOB%, over 2% higher than any other team, hence a big discrepancy between their 2.96 ERA and 3.83 FIP.

In other words, the Red Sox are showing some signs of positive regression and the Yankees are likely going to fall off of this current pace, though there is no guarantee of that happening in a single game like tonight’s.

However, it certainly could. Stroman comes in with a strong 2.82 ERA, but he’s got a 4.47 xERA and a 4.79 FIP, as he is one of the major culprits as to why the Yankees have a big ERA-FIP discrepancy. Stroman’s .243 BABIP against and 83.3% LOB% are the best marks of his career by far. Only his four-start campaign in 2015 grades better in those two metrics, but that isn’t nearly enough of a sample size to count.

Stroman’s K% is the lowest he’s had since 2018 and his BB% is the highest of his career. But, he continues to have a high rate of ground balls turned into outs and has only allowed a .176 batting average with men on base and a .130 BAA with men in scoring position. Both areas should regress to the mean.

Crawford’s 3.47 ERA and 3.55 FIP looked a lot better in early May, as he’s posted a 5.82 ERA with a 4.55 FIP over his last six starts covering 34 innings of work. He’s allowed four or more runs in five of those six starts. He’s also allowed six homers and has not done well stranding runners when he gets into jams.

With Stroman showing a lot of signs of a downturn and Crawford’s recent returns, we should see some runs early in this one.

Pick: Yankees/Red Sox 1st 5 Over 4.5 (-135)

Yankees vs. Red Sox Player Props

Rafael Devers Over 1.5 Hits + Runs + RBI

Devers comes in with a robust .289/.396/.627 slash against righties, good for a .426 wOBA and a 174 wRC+. Only Kyle Tucker, Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Steven Kwan, and Kerry Carpenter have a higher wRC+ against righties as a left-handed hitter and only Tucker, Soto, and Ohtani have a higher wOBA. 

As with most sinkerball guys, Stroman struggles with the platoon advantage, as lefties own a .242/.353/.492 slash with a .368 wOBA against him compared to righties with a .207/.279/.323 slash and a .271 wOBA. Stroman is actually fortunate to have 33 more PA against righties than lefties. As he faces left-handed-heavy lineups, that’s where I’d expect the regression to arrive.