In: MLB Free Picks8 Jun 2011
For the most part, A.J. Burnett is having a decent first half.
His ERA checks in at 3.89, he’s 6-3 in 12 starts, and he’s given up two runs or fewer eight times. Tonight is his first start in 2011 against the Boston Red Sox, and if history tells us anything, Burnett’s respectable stat line could take a big hit.
Over the past three seasons Burnett has started 11 games against Boston, but he’s only got a 2-3 record with a 5.83 ERA to show for it. On average, Burnett doesn’t typically make it out of the fifth inning against the Yanks’ most notorious division rival.
The Red Sox treated Freddy Garcia to an early dismissal last night thanks to a 3-run first inning, and a second inning that looked like it might be just as bad until Garcia got the hook.
Boston has been on an offensive tear over the past week and a half, averaging nearly seven runs per game. If they continue to have a good eye and the plate and keep mashing, Burnett could be in for a long night.
The one thing the Yankees have going for them is they are going to get a piece of Major Leage Baseball’s box of chocolates Tim Wakefield.
The ancient knuckleballer sometimes comes out of the bullpen, he’s started five games, and he’s only sometimes been effective. It’s always tough to guess just what you’ll get when Wakefield takes the hill. He’s truly continuing the legacy of every knuckleball pitcher in history.
Against the Yankees, Wakefield has always had a difficult time. He’s 2-1 in his last six starts against them, and he’s got a 4.50 ERA.
Considering the Yankees lineup is chock-full of veterans, one would assume Wakefield may be in for yet another rough start.
In other words, tonight could be another one of those wild ones that seem to be so common in this rivalry.
The advantage has to be with Burnett and the rest of the Yankees lineup at home against Wakefield. It’s doubtful that Burnett will go out there and stink up the field the way Garcia did yesterday.
So long as he can keep the Red Sox surging offense in check, the Yankees should be able to hang in there with patience at the plate, and ultimately find the right opportunity to put just enough runs on the board to win.
Pick: Take the New York Yankees (-125)