With MLB bettors craving action, it was expected that the lone game on Thursday's schedule, Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, was to be one of the most-wagered matchups of the season as the second half was to begin. Alas, the game has been postponed due to reported positive tests on the Yankees. They did not take batting practice before the game because of test results. Obviously, it's too early to know what that means for the rest of the series.
Bettors weren't able to wager on this game until a few hours ago because Yankees manager Aaron Boone hadn't named his starting pitcher. It will be Domingo German. Meanwhile, Red Sox fans will get a glimpse of the future as touted outfield prospect Jarren Duran is expected to make his debut. The Yanks are short favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook MLB odds even though they have lost all six meetings in the series this year. ESPN has the national telecast (7 p.m. ET).
Normally, this would be ace Gerrit Cole's turn in the rotation for New York, but he threw a career-high 129 pitches last Saturday in Houston and thus will get more time to rest.
German (4-5, 4.44) had been used in relief his previous two appearances and allowed two runs over five. He will be on three days of rest so a bit of surprise it will be him here (clearly won't go very long) and not Jordan Montgomery. In eight starts in the Bronx this season, German is 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA. He is 2-2 overall with a 4.72 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) vs. Boston, including 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA this year. All-Star Xander Bogaerts is 6-for-14 career off him with two doubles and a homer.
The 24-year-old Duran, meanwhile, is considered Boston's No. 3 prospect and No. 86 overall in the league by MLB.com. He slashed .270/.365/.561 this season for Triple-A Worcester with 15 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 189 at-bats. If he is good enough to stick and play every day, it would be in center field, which would move Kike Hernandez to second base. Duran would join Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts (both now elsewhere) among top Red Sox prospects to make their MLB debuts against the Yankees. Update: Duran is batting seventh tonight.
Boston starts lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (6-5, 5.52) on the mound. He had a string of three straight quality starts snapped in his finale pre-break last Wednesday at the Angels, allowing four runs and nine hits (two homers) over five innings in a loss. The Red Sox are 56-18 (.756) in his starts since the beginning of 2018. He's 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA in two starts this year vs. New York. Gleyber Torres is 7-for-19 off him career with three homers. Aaron Judge just 4-for-25 with 10 Ks.
The Sox are 21-10 (.677) against AL East teams this year, the highest winning percentage for any team within its own division in 2021. Boston was 14-26 (.350) vs. AL East clubs in 2020. The Yanks are 17-24 inside the division. This writer is backing the Red Sox on the runline.
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