New York Yankees (0-1) A.J. Burnett, at Boston Red Sox (1-0) Jon
Lester, Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., 7:10 PM EST, Tuesday, April 6th,
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Line: Yankees +130/Red Sox -140
After taking Monday off from christening the Major League Baseball season in Sunday nights primetime opener, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will get together for game two of the series at Fenway
Park Tuesday when the Pinstripes righty A.J. Burnett duels against
Sox lefty Jon Lester.
The Red Sox rallied late to win Sundays opener with seven runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to steal away a 9-7 victory, with little
sparkplug Dustin Pedroias two-run homerun in the 7th turning the
tide. The Yankees had Red Sox ace Josh Beckett beaten and on the
ropes (4.2 IP, 8 H (2 HR), 3 BB, 5 R), so the fact they let the
opener slip away makes the loss to their hated rivals even worse.
Oddsmakers opened the overnight betting line on this game with a lot
of confidence on Lester and the Red Sox, as once again they are big
-140 favorites on the moneyline with the Yankees in a rare +130
underdog role with one of their better pitchers in Burnett on the bump.
The over/under total is listed at 9 at a few wagering sites,
but a large majority of the books have already moved the total to 9.5
for tonights round two.
Perhaps the biggest reason the Red Sox are surprisingly large favorites is because of Lesters strong numbers at home on the Fenway
Park mound. In 44 career home starts the lefty is 23-5 (.821) with a
nice 3.16 ERA.
His numbers are equally as solid against the Yankees, going 3-1 in his eight starts in the Sox-Yankees rivalry with an outstanding 10.2
SO/9 ratio and just 14 extra base hits allowed in the 208 batters
hes faced. The only problem with Lester is that he is often a slow
starter, going just 2-4 over his 12 April starts in his young career
with a high (for him) 4.78 ERA and .320 BAbip.
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez would be the likely candidates to
cause Lester problems, as Jeter is the only Yankee regular to hit
over .300 against him (.375, .423 OBP in 24 AB) and A-Rod is the only
one to have multiple homeruns versus Lester (2 HR in 16 AB).
But where Lester has kept the Yankees in check for the most part, the
same could not be said for Burnett and his history against the Red Sox.
On the surface Burnetts 5-2 career record (12 starts) against Boston
looks okay, but his two games at Fenway last year were horrific
giving up six homeruns and 22 runs in just 12.2 innings pitched. As a
whole hes given up 12 homeruns to Boston in his 12 starts for a
career .736 OPS versus the Sox.
The flip side of the equation is Burnetts usual fast start in April,
going 13-9 over his 32 outings with low totals in both WHIP (1.332)
and BAbip (.275) when compared to later in the summer.
Burnett and his Fenway struggles might be hard pressed to snap the
Red Sox string of nine wins in the last 11 meetings at the historic
ball park either. The way the Yankees bullpen was knocked around on
Sunday it will be crucial for Burnett to get through at least five.
The over is 4-0 in the last four games at Fenway, last year and
Sunday, but for the entire season last year the total was just 5-4-1
in the 10 games in Bostons yard.
Badgers Pick: I know Lester doesnt lose at home, and that Burnett
cant seem to keep the ball in the yard there, but -140 is right on
the cusp of how much chalk Im willing to eat and in this case I
dont see that much value. I think Burnett wont pitch nearly as bad
as he did there last season, and with Lesters usual strong outing at
home Im playing the under of 9.5 here.