One bettor placed a $100,000 wager on the New York Yankees to win Tuesday’s American League Wild Card matchup against the Boston Red Sox at -125 MLB betting odds, a bet that would profit $80,000, according to the mobile betting app BetMGM Sportsbook NJ.
That wager looks even better with Yankee Killer JD Martinez out due to injury.
Still, in a one-game playoff, anything can happen. Maybe it can bring some juice to a rivalry that has lost its luster.
Here’s a quick PlayNY preview:
AL Wild Card pitching matchup: Cole vs. Eovaldi
On paper, Gerrit Cole against Nate Eovaldi looks one-sided. But both power-righties need to make some adjustments.
Cole (16-8) finished the regular season with a 7.64 ERA in his final three starts. He’s fortunate to avoid Toronto’s vaunted sluggers, who ambushed his fastball with ease in Rogers Centre. Cole, the $36 million man, needs to go deep, not led Rafael Devers (three-run homer on Sept. 24) beat him, and leave with a lead.
Meanwhile, Eovaldi got lit up by the Yankees at Fenway Park on Sept. 24, facing 17 batters and recording no strikeouts. It’s hard not to wonder whether he was tipping, though so many of his pitches were middle-middle, maybe he was just uncharacteristically terrible.
Don’t forget about the Judge-Stanton Factor for the Yankees
The dynamic duo of Aaron Judge (39 homers, 98 RBIs, 916 OPS) and Giancarlo Stanton (35 homers, 97 RBIs, .870 OPS) both stepped up and carried the Yankees down the stretch.
Judge has a history of taking elite pitchers deep in October, while Stanton put the offense on his back during the 2020 postseason.
If the Bombers are going to make a run, Judge and Stanton will need to deliver the key blows. Will Judge be able to play Sinatra on his boombox again?
Defensive alignment for New York Yankees
For DJ LeMahieu, his first season since signing his six-year, $90 million extension was a disappointment (97 OPS+). But LeMahieu’s elite bat-to-ball skills at the top of the order will still be missed.
Granted, the Yankees might be able to field their best defensive alignment on the infield with plus-defender Anthony Rizzo at first; Gleyber Torres way more comfortable at second than short; and slick fielders Gio Urshela (3B) and Andrew Velasquez (SS) likely manning the left side.
The projected outfield is also strong with Joey Gallo, Brett Gardner and Judge handling duties, and Stanton at DH. And Cole’s personal catcher, Kyle Higashioka, is solid behind the plate.
Yankees bullpen stable looking better
The Yankees’ bullpen was pretty volatile for much of the year.
For example, Aroldis Chapman (who has allowed some big hits in October) and Chad Green (14 homers allowed) both endured miserable stretches.
But many of their relievers ended 2021 on a high note, and Jonathan Loaisiga (2.17 ERA) provides a high-leverage weapon now that he’s back healthy.
X-Factor for Yankees-Red Sox AL Wild Card: manager
Alex Cora is an elite in-game manager. It’s why the Red Sox were able to make the playoffs in what was expected to be a rebuilding campaign.
Meanwhile, Aaron Boone has been to the postseason in all four of his seasons at the helm, but he doesn’t have that coveted World Series ring. It’s often hard to decipher how many decisions are Boone’s to make in an analytics-reliant (perhaps over-reliant) organization, but of the two friends, Cora has the edge in the dugout.
Still, at least on paper, the Yankees have to like their chances in the talent department. But the pressure is on.