The Boston Red Sox (63-58) and the New York Yankees (60-61) will play the first game of their three-game divisional series on Friday, August 18. First pitch from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York is set for 7:05 p.m. ET, and the game will air on Apple TV+. It’ll be battle of young righties on the mound, as Boston will start Brayan Bello (8-7, 3.81 ERA) while New York counters with rookie Jhony Brito (4-5, 4.76).
The Red Sox are the -115 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Yankees are the narrow -105 underdogs, and the run total is set at 9.5.
Red Sox-Yankees picks: Friday, August 18
Out: SP Carlos Rodon (hamstring), SP Nestor Cortes (shoulder), 1B Anthony Rizzo (concussion)
Brayan Bello vs. Jhony Brito
Bello will start his 21st game of the season. He was one of the best starters on the team in June but has grown inconsistent since then. Bello struggled in his last start against the Detroit Tigers. He pitched 4.2 innings and allowed four earned runs on nine hits while striking out five to earn his seventh loss of the year.
Brito will make his 16th appearance and 13th start on Friday. He has come out of the ‘pen in the two games he’s appeared in this month, but with Rodon, Cortes and Domingo German out the Yankees have no choice but to let him take the ball every fifth day. The righty pitched 1.2 innings against the Houston Astros last week, striking out and walking two. Then he threw five innings against the Miami Marlins and allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out six.
Neither of these pitchers are throwing the ball particularly well of late, but I’m still going with the under at this inflated number. Boston hasn’t cleared this total in seven of their last eight games, while the Yankees have scored more than three runs in just four of their last 13. Bello has pitched well in each of his previous meetings with New York, and given the Yankees’ recent form at the plate, there’s no way you can trust them to hold up their end of the bargain here.
Pick: Under 9.5
Frankly, I’m not sure why the moneyline odds are all that close here. Brito has been as pedestrian as you’d imagine a rookie thrown into the fire like this would be, and while the Red Sox have scuffled a bit at the plate of late, they’re still a far more trustworthy lineup than what the Yankees are rolling out there right now. Boston has the better options on the mound and at the plate, and at even odds I’ll take them to get this crucial series started with a win on Friday night.
Pick: Red Sox -115