Yankees vs. Red Sox Sunday Night Baseball Preview and Best Bet

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Jordan Montgomery #47 of the New York Yankees pitches. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Top Sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for tonight’s meeting between the Yankees and Red Sox. Heading into tonight’s series finale, the Yankees lead Boston 2-0 in the series. With a win tonight, they would complete the sweep. Currently, both teams are tied for the first spot in the AL Wild Card race. With a win tonight, New York would move into the first spot and Boston into the second. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the first-half total for this game.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

Sunday, September 26, 2021 – 07:08 PM EDT at Fenway Park

Jordan Montgomery 

Throughout his professional career, Yankee starter Jordan Montgomery has been the type of pitcher who seeks to employ a variety of pitches in order to keep hitters off balance. He values variety instead of velocity. His three favorite pitches are his change-up, curveball, and sinker. These are the three pitches which he throws with over 20 percent frequency. He also throws each of them less than 30 percent of the time.

This month has been a bit strange for Montgomery in that he is throwing a lot more fastballs. Montgomery's uptick in fastball percentage and increasing comfort with his fastball seem especially jarring to consider tonight because he barely chose to throw his fastball in his last start against Boston. He likely chose to avoid his fastball in this last start against Boston because Red Sox hitters crushed it.

They've seen Montgomery several times this season, during the course of which they've demonstrated strong success against his fastball. Against the 34 fastballs that Montgomery has tossed them, Red Sox batters are hitting .375 and slugging .500. It will be interesting to see, therefore, if Montgomery continues to throw more fastballs or if he reverts to his more characteristic primary trio of sinker, curveball, and change-up.

The Match-Up

Either way, the Red Sox match up well against Montgomery tonight. Against these three pitches -- the sinker, curveball, and change-up -- from lefties combined, the Red Sox rank 10th in slugging. This ranking is modest only because it accounts for their away stats.

At home, the Red Sox hit .313 and slug .509 against these three pitches from lefties. One might try to counter that Montgomery evinces positive form, that he's been pitching well lately and should therefore be considered reliable tonight. But know for your Best Bets that strong form hasn't saved him before against Boston batters. From July 22 through August 1, for example, Montgomery enjoyed a streak of strong starts as he allowed one earned run in a combined total of 15.2 innings.

Then, however, Boston trounced him for three earned runs in 4.2 innings for a 5.79 game ERA. I think that the Red Sox can do even more damage, tonight, to Montgomery not despite but because they are coming off of two losses. After losing two games in a row, this lineup often explodes. On July 19, for example, they scored 13 runs after losing two prior games to the Yankees. They also scored 20 runs on August 11 after they had lost their last two games. The list continues.

Look out for Christian Arroyo, Christian Vasquez, and Xander Bogaerts, in particular. All three guys slug well over .500 against Montgomery with the latter two doing so in over 15 at-bats. Arroyo has only seen Montgomery four times, but he already has belted two homers against him.

Eduardo Rodriguez 

Like his Yankee counterpart, Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez is characterized rather by the variety of his pitches than by their velocity. Rodriguez, though, is much more reliant on a single pitch, his fastball. This season, he throws this pitch with 40 percent frequency. Since the end of July, he has increased his uptick in fastball percentage, throwing this single pitch nearly half the time.It's hard to like Rodriguez in general because, despite relying so heavily on a single pitch, he doesn't throw it well.

This year, opponents are hitting .291 and slugging .497 against his fastball. Keep this stat in mind for your Sports Betting. In addition to lacking velocity -- it ranks in the 24th percentile in the category -- he frequently leaves it in the more middle, hittable parts of the strike zone, as heat maps show.

Yankee Batters vs. Rodriguez

New York hitters match up well against Rodriguez because they rank ninth in slugging .476 against the fastball from lefties. They show good form, too, having scored 27 runs in their past four games. Perhaps most importantly, they have superb numbers against the Red Sox southpaw, slugging .500 against him in 184 at-bats. Joey Gallo, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, and Rougned Odor all slug well over .700 in over five career at-bats against Rodriguez. 

The Verdict 

Given each lineup's situation and match-up against the opposing starting pitcher, you should expect a high-scoring game. The only question is whether to expect higher scoring particularly in the first five innings. I think the answer is "yes" because each team can mount quality relievers that are capable of lasting multiple innings.

In choosing the first-half "over" with our MLB Picks we target the starting pitchers. Because I strongly dislike both starters tonight, for the above reasons, I recommend the first-half "over."

MLB Pick: First-Half Over 5.5 at -115 with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.