Boston Red Sox (33-26) vs. New York Yankees (33-24) MLB Betting Lines

Moneyline: Red Sox (-116) Yankees (+106)

Over/Under: 9.5

Starting Pitchers: Red Sox (Lester) vs. Yankees (Garcia)

Before the season started, most people assumed it would be the Red Sox and the Yankees fighting for first place in the American League East. Both Boston and New York have gone through long slumps this year, but they have both found their way to the top of the standings in the last few weeks. The Yankees come into this series one game ahead of their rivals from Boston.

Boston started the season 0-6 and they were at the bottom of the AL East for a little while, but this team has put it together over the last month. The Red Sox were actually at the top of the standings for a few short days before dropping four straight a week ago. They rebounded nicely by sweeping the Athletics at home this past weekend, and now they look to keep their momentum going as they head to New York. It has been the improved hitting of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, and Adrian Gonzalez that has made the difference over the last month. Crawford was as cold as he could possibly be for the first month and a half, but he has been on fire of late, and that makes this lineup much more dangerous. Ortiz is now hitting .325 and Gonzalez leads the American League in runs batted in.

The Yankees are a bit of unique case, because they don’t have any player hitting above .300, but they lead the majors in runs scored per game. The Yankees are running away with the lead in home runs hit. New York has already racked up 88 home runs in 2011. Mark Teixeira has 18 home runs so far this year and Curtis Granderson has 17. In order for this team to reach its full potential, they’ll need guys like Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada, and Russell Martin to start hitting the ball more consistently. The Yankees have gotten surprisingly good pitching this year, and they actually rank eighth in all of baseball in team ERA at 3.45. Freddy Garcia has been a big surprise for the Yankees with a 3.34 ERA so far in 2011, and he will take the hill in this game.

The Red Sox are 4-0 in Lester’s last four starts against the Yankees. I think Boston is the play in this one.

MLB Free Pick: Boston Red Sox ML