MLB Over/Under Bet: The Rivalry Begins Once Again

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Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 3:35 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: Chris Sale (0-3, 9.00 ERA) vs. James Paxton (1-2, 6.00 ERA)

In The Rivalry’s first installment for 2019, it will be two familiar left-handers going at it, but with two very uncharacteristic stat lines coming in. 

What to make of this pair of typically perennial AL Cy Young contenders?

With Sale, the diminished velocity he’s featured since returning from a shoulder injury in the second half of last season has certainly played a role. The 6-foot-6 southpaw is only averaging 91-92 mph, a far cry from the mid-90’s velocity he has regularly delivered throughout his career.

 Even so, I think Sale is just too good to keep slumping. It’s not like he only relies on his fastball, as he also boasts a really good slider that opponents are only hitting .217 against.

 And while the Yankees are dangerous to tangle with in their hitter-friendly park, this is actually a matchup that can help Sale get things turned back around. Since coming to Boston prior to the 2017 season, Sale has faced the Yanks seven times, ringing up  some truly outstanding numbers in the process: a 2.11 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 50-7 K/BB ratio across 47 innings. That also doesn’t include his standout performance last year in helping put away New York in the ALDS.

 Let’s also remember that the Yanks’ lineup is severely banged up right now, and considering their struggles opposite left-handed pitching — they currently rank 28th in team batting average (.196) and 27th in OPS (.604) — that gives an advantage to Sale.

 His counterpart, Paxton, has only been slightly better in his first three starts. However, I think it’s only a matter of time before the former Seattle Mariner gets in his groove, as I think his slow start is more mental than anything else. He even admitted to “trying too hard.”

 Now that he’s a few outings in, Paxton should be more at ease, even saying he’s looking forward to taking on the challenge of entering this storied rivalry for the first time. Boston may be pressing as well given their early struggles, which could help pave the way for the old Big Maple to resurface.

 When approaching this bet, wait it out to see if the line goes up to 9, which is possible. If it sticks at 8.5, I’ll still be on the under. Play: UNDER 8.5/9

Yesterday’s Result: Royals-White Sox Over 9.5 (loss)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 9-10, -2.25 units

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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