On Tuesday night, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will play this year’s American League Wild Card Game. The single-elimination contest will dictate who advances to the next round, wherein they’ll play a best-of-five division series against the Tampa Bay Rays, and who heads home to begin their offseason. You can view the full postseason schedule by clicking here.
With that throat-clearing out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff.
How to watch
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 5 | Time: 8:08 p.m. ET
Location: Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)
TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: NYY -121; BOS +110; O/U: 8 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Starting pitchers: Gerrit Cole vs. Nathan Eovaldi
These two historic rivals are meeting in the postseason for the fifth time. The Yankees won the 1999 ALCS and 2003 ALCS while the Red Sox won the 2004 ALCS and 2018 ALDS. The rivalry has given us several iconic moments, including Aaron Boone’s pennant-clinching walk-off home run as well as Boston’s comeback from a 3-0 series deficit.
The Yankees swept three games in Fenway Park just last weekend, and the season series was one of extremes. The Red Sox won their first seven head-to-head games before the Yankees rallied to win nine of the final 12. Of course, anything can happen in one single game, and what happened in the season series will have no real bearing in what happens in the Wild Card Game.
Cole made four starts against the Red Sox this year and they were a mixed bag (4.91 ERA in 22 innings). Last weekend he held Boston to three runs in six innings. Eovaldi has been very good against his former club this season (3.71 ERA in six starts), though the Yankees did punish him for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings last weekend.
If you like power pitching, this is the matchup for you. Cole and Eovaldi rank among the hardest-throwing starters in the game, and each team’s bullpen is loaded with flamethrowers. The Yankees have largely underperformed offensively this year, though they’ve been much better of late, particularly since adding Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo at the trade deadline.
If we’ve learned anything from all those nationally televised Yankees vs. Red Sox games over the years, it’s that these two teams tend to play long and tense games. This one has four hours written all over it. The Red Sox have a decided home-field advantage at Fenway Park, though New York’s pitching has been sneaky excellent all year, and they seem to have a reliever for every possible matchup and situation. I think their arms outlast Boston’s bats, and the Yankees advance to the ALDS.
Pick: Yankees 5, Red Sox 3