Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees Preview and Pick – Byrd vs. Ponson

Boston Red Sox (76-55) +110, 10 1/2 at New York Yankees (70-61), 7 pm Eastern Wednesday, ESPN
by Zman of

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees still haven’t chased down the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League’s Eastern Division, and may just be fighting for the wild-card spot, as the teams continue a three-game series Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Baseball bookmakers are listing New York and starting pitcher Sidney Ponson (7-4, 4.67, 1.59 WHIP) as 120 home favorites for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 10 1/2, while Boston and Paul Byrd (8-11, 4.61, 1.30) are getting +110 as road underdogs.

The Red Sox took the series opener Tuesday night 7-3, and are now 5-2 on a current nine-game road trip. Meanwhile, the loss broke the Yankees’ three-game winning streak.

So going into Wednesday’s game, Boston is in second place in the AL East, 3 1/2 games back of the division-leading Rays, while NY is in third place, 9 1/2 games behind Tampa.

And the Sox lead the AL wild-card race by 2 1/2 games over the second-place Minnesota Twins, and by six games over the Yanks.

Boston may be 21 games over .500 this season, but they’re only 33-37 on the road.The Red Sox are also 11-17 as underdogs, and 66-65 vs. the run line.


NY is 38-28 at home this season, 57-41 as favorites, and 56-74 vs. the run line.

The Sox have taken seven of 13 games from the Yanks so far this season, with the totals going 7-5-1, as the games have averaged 9.6 total runs per.

Over his last three starts, including a mediocre outing vs. Toronto last Friday, Byrd has allowed 10 ER and 24 baserunners (hits + walks) in 22 1/3 IP. Boston is 1-1 in Byrd’s starts this year, the totals 1-1.

Byrd has started four games over the last two seasons vs. the Yankees, all as a member of the Cleveland Indians, including once in last year’s playoffs, and has been banged around for 18 ER and 32 BR in 19 IP.

Over his last three starts, including a bombing at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays last Thursday, Ponson has given up 13 ER and 27 BR in 16 IP. New York is 6-4 in Ponson’s starts this year, the totals 4-6.

Ponson has started twice vs. the Red Sox over the last two seasons, once as a member of the Minnesota Twins, allowing 10 ER and 23 BR in 9 1/3 IP.

Offensively, Boston ranks 2nd in the majors this season in team BA at .281 and in team OBP at .358, 4th in team slugging at .447, and is averaging 5.2 runs per game.

New York ranks 7th in batting at .273, 5th in OBP at .345, 11th in slugging at .427, and is averaging 4.8 RPG.

Over the last five games, the Boston bullpen has allowed 10 ER and 31 BR in 23 1/3 IP.

Over its’ last five games, the New York pen has given up 10 ER and 34 BR in 23 IP.

On the injury front, Red Sox outfielder JD Drew was placed on the DL Wednesday, retroactive back to Aug. 18, as he deals with a bad back.

The totals are 61-60 in Sox games this year, 54-73 in Yanks games, and 28-35 in games played at Yankee Stadium, which are averaging 9.9 total runs this season.

Zman’s Pick: I like the BoSox to beat a less than average Sidney Ponson.