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Tonight features an enticing playlist of two games that will be available exclusively on Apple TV+. We kick off with what could be a historic game between the Red Sox and Yankees at 7:05 p.m. ET, with Aaron Judge sitting at 60 home runs. Next up are the Cardinals and Dodgers in Los Angeles at 10:10 p.m. .
This feels like a low total, considering the matchup between Gerrit Cole and Rich Hill. The struggles Cole has endured against the Red Sox are well documented, so why not go over them again? This season against the bitter rival Yankees, Cole posted a 5.48 ERA, with a .326 wOBA, seven home runs allowed and a 5.20 FIP in four starts. Earlier this month, Cole faced this Red Sox club at Fenway Park and gave up four runs on four hits, including three home runs, in six innings. This matchup has been a struggle for him, and I hope it continues tonight.
On the other hand, Rich Hill has yet to face the Yankees this season, due to time spent on the disabled list. He’ll get his first chance with them tonight, but he wouldn’t expect much here either; Hill doesn’t delve into the games. In 19 of the 23 starts he’s made, Hill hasn’t gone more than 5 2/3 innings. In four of his last five starts, the veteran southpaw has pitched no more than five innings and has allowed a total of 13 runs in that span. Going after Hill early would give the Yankees several innings against this Red Sox bullpen, which has been one of his weak spots all season.
Going over 4.5 runs against the Red Sox has happened often for the Yankees. New York has gone over 4.5 runs in nine of the clubs’ 15 meetings this year. As I mentioned earlier, I expect Hill to be out of this game early, which means at least three or four innings out of the Boston bullpen. That’s usually not a good thing (unless, of course, you have 4.5+ runs for the Yankees). I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the necessary runs come from Hill, since he has allowed at least four earned runs in eight of his 23 starts. Most of the teams that have tagged him for that damage have done well against left-handed pitching, like the Astros, Braves and Rays.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some early offense in this game. Now, to be fair, tonight’s two starters, Jose Quintana of the Cardinals and Andrew Heaney of the Dodgers, have been very good for their respective teams. However, both clubs hit lefties very well. The Cardinals lead the league with a 140 wRC+ against lefties, while the Dodgers are just outside the top 10 with 112. As good as Quintana has been at posting a 3.16 ERA, his xERA sits at 3.93. Heaney is another example of this, as his 2.66 ERA is paired with a 3.33 xERA.
Both teams have also been strong in hitting the game total through the first five innings. Entering tonight, the Dodgers are 74-66-10 with the over in the first five innings, while the Cardinals are 73-67-11. Even though both pitchers have done well this season, I think both will struggle against very good offenses.
Is tonight the night Pujols gets closer to a 700 home run? The matchup is certainly good for him. Heaney has struggled to limit home runs this season, giving up 1.7 for nine in his 61 innings. In all, he has allowed 12 home runs, 11 of which have come off the bat of a right-handed hitter. Pujols has hit 12 of his 19 home runs against a left-handed pitcher, including six on the road. It’s been six games since Pujols hit his last home run, which put him in sole possession of fourth on the all-time list. Historically, Heaney has given up a lot of fly balls and is doing so at a rate of 45.7% in 2022. With the power Pujols has against lefties, this could be a big night for The Machine.
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