If the Red Sox don’t want to have to worry about facing their archrival, the Yankees, in the 2013 American League Division Series (which they would if the Yankees took the wild card game), winning this weekend’s four-game series in the Bronx would help.
Boston will be around a +120 series underdog by Bovada oddsmakers — first three games only — as the Sox look to keep New York from the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Should Boston win three of the four, the Red Sox would clinch the season series against New York a year after going 5-13 against the Yanks. The Sox hold a 7-5 lead, winning four of six at Yankee Stadium.
Thursday’s opener will have live betting, and Boston opened as a -102 underdog. The Yankees are scheduled to start right-hander Ivan Nova (8-4, 2.88 ERA). He comes off the best start of his career, a complete-game three-hitter against the Orioles. That win was his first shutout, and it was only the second time in the past 10 years a Yankees starting pitcher won a complete game by the score of 1-0 or 2-0. Most times Mariano Rivera closes those out.
Nova has been New York’s best starter for a while, with nine quality starts in his past 10 outings. The Yanks have only lost two of those. Nova has managed to avoid Boston this season but is 6-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 10 home starts. David Ortiz has had success off Nova, going 4-for-13 with a homer. Stephen Drew is 2-for-2 with a home run.
Friday’s game also will have live betting, and it may be Andy Pettitte‘s final career home start against Boston. The 41-year-old lefty seems likely to retire after this season, although he hasn’t pitched like it recently. Pettitte (10-9, 4.01) hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his past five outings, with New York winning four. One of those was Aug. 16 in Boston, when Pettitte allowed three runs, but none earned, in 6 2/3 innings. The Yanks won that game 10-3.
Pettitte has been worse at home than the road this year, going 4-4 with a 4.63 ERA at Yankee Stadium. He’s 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in three starts this year overall against the Sox. Jonny Gomes is 3-for-9 with a homer and three RBIs this year off Pettitte. Jacoby Ellsbury has a homer in 10 at-bats. Shane Victorino is 1-for-9.
Saturday’s matchup also has live betting, and it will be with a pinch pitcher. Phil Hughes was scheduled, but he has been demoted to the bullpen. That wasn’t a surprising move — Hughes is 1-9 with a 5.68 ERA at home in 2013, and one of those losses was against Boston on June 1, when he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Replacing Hughes is lefty David Huff (2-0, 3.32). He got the nod after allowing an earned run in 5 1/3 innings relief of Hughes on Monday against the White Sox. Huff is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA with New York after being acquired from Cleveland in May. He hasn’t started this season. Boston is hitting .259 against left-handers compared to .281 against righties. Mike Napoli has three hits, including a homer, in six career at-bats off Huff.