The Boston Red Sox will play the American League Wild Card game in front of the home crowd at Fenway Park, but they will do so as small underdogs against the favored New York Yankees.
Such is life when Gerrit Cole is on the mound for the Bronx Bombers.
The two historic rivals will meet Tuesday night at Fenway with a winner-take-all trip to the American League Division Series on the line. DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Yankees at very slight -120 favorites (bet $120 to win $100), while the home team Sox are an even-money +100 to win the game, so it’s essentially a pick ’em.
The total, with Cole being opposed by Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi, currently sits at 8.5.
The two teams are about as even as could be, too. Boston won the season series 10-9, outscoring the Yankees by one single run in their 19 games. Perhaps that’s a little misleading, though, especially if you want to weigh more recent games. The Yankees won the last six matchups of the season, outscoring the Red Sox 31-14 in those games, sweeping a series in the Bronx in mid-August and then taking all three of a weekend series last week at Fenway.
Cole, who should get plenty of votes for the Cy Young Award, did have some issues with the Red Sox. He went 2-2 but allowed 12 earned runs in just 22 innings while striking out 31 and walking nine. The Red Sox took him deep five times, including three home runs in a 9-2 win at Fenway on June 27. The right-hander won his most recent start against the Sox but wasn’t especially sharp, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings in an 8-3 win on Sept. 24.
Cole didn’t exactly sprint to the finish line, either, allowing 20 earned runs over his final three starts of the campaign. The over hit in all three of those games.
Eovaldi was the clear choice to start the one-game showdown for Boston after arguably the best season of his career. He was fantastic in his final start of the season, but that followed perhaps his worst outing of the year, on Sept. 24 opposite Cole, when he didn’t make it out of the third inning against New York. The Yankees tagged him for seven runs on seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings. He did beat the Yankees twice, though, going 2-2 in six starts with a 3.71 ERA. Other than the one hiccup, Eovaldi didn’t allow more than two earned runs in a single start against the Yankees, allowing just 31 1/3 innings versus New York.
First pitch from Fenway Park on Tuesday is set for 8:08 p.m. ET.