Day baseball is on the menu for July 18, as just about every game will be played in the afternoon hours. The only game set for the evening will be the Sunday Night Baseball matchup between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Yankees are a small favorite in the Bronx for Sunday’s game with a total of 9.5 as these two teams will shelve their rivalry for a little while after the final out.

Jameson Taillon will get the call for the shorthanded Yankees and it will be Martin Perez for the Red Sox in the ninth game of 19 scheduled for these two ballclubs. Bookmaker has New York priced at -115.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have really dominated the head-to-head series between the two teams. They went into Saturday’s game with a 7-0 record in the season series with a +23 run differential. With Gerrit Cole on the mound on Saturday, the Red Sox lost 3-1 in a game that was called in the sixth.

A lot of people likely thought that Boston would fall off the pace a bit as the season went along, but that has not been the case at all. The Red Sox just keep chugging along, though they have fallen down a little bit statistically. They’ve just found different ways to win games.

Since the start of June, Boston’s offense has been slightly above average. The Red Sox haven’t walked a whole lot and haven’t really picked off their offensive pace like most of the teams around the league have. They’re still performing well, but not as well as they did earlier in the season, when they were first or second in a lot of offensive categories.

The pitching side has faltered as well. While the Red Sox still rank in the top five in fWAR as a pitching staff, the picture has not been nearly as pretty since the start of June. Boston has been a pretty average pitching staff in that span, as a huge spike in HR/FB% has been a primary factor. Pitchers like Martin Perez have not found as much success and the Red Sox have been forced to adjust on the fly a bit.

Perez has a 4.04 ERA with a 4.50 FIP in his 84.2 innings of work. By xERA, Perez is listed with a 5.43 mark, so there are apparently some more rough outings to come. Every start seems like a struggle for him right now, as he has a 4.76 ERA and a 5.76 FIP since the MLB crackdown on foreign substances on June 3. He’s also allowed seven homers in 34 innings after only allowing four homers in his first 50.2 innings.

New York Yankees

The Yankees have been a disappointing team this season. There is really no way around saying it. New York should be better based on the team’s talent level, but wins have not come as easily as they should have. The Yankees fail to pay attention to the little things, like holding runners or throwing out would-be base stealers. They don’t excel at situational hitting. They have been awful with men in scoring position.

It has been one thing after another and this is why the Yankees are basically hovering in the .500 range. This week, they’ve had to contend with some players in COVID protocols, as Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela are two big names missing from the lineup. The relief corps and the starting rotation have both been impacted as well.

This is a team that seems to be operating on a razor-thin margin for error anyway, so these setbacks aren’t good for morale. The Yankees have not faced adversity well. Their performance against Boston seems to be pretty clear proof of that.

Jameson Taillon is a guy that has lived through a lot of adversity in his MLB career. The right-handed threw 82.2 innings in the first half, which is 82.2 more than he threw in 2020 and 45.1 more than he threw in 2019. Taillon has had Tommy John surgery twice and also testicular cancer, so he is a very easy guy to root for, but you do wonder about his arm health as he keeps reaching these innings plateaus.

Taillon has a 4.90 ERA with a 4.66 FIP on the season. The long ball has been his primary problem, as he has allowed 16 of those in 17 starts. His K and BB rates are good and so are his BABIP and LOB% marks. Those two stats are usually driven by luck and variance and can be indicators of good or bad luck. For Taillon, it looks like his only malady is the dinger and one that he needs to rectify to reach his potential.

Red Sox vs. Yankees Free Pick

Neither one of these pitchers seems all that trustworthy, but the Yankees offense is watered-down right now and Boston’s offense has not performed up to its full capabilities either. It is tough to look at an over for this one. It seems to make more sense to pick a side. Martin Perez has struggled of late, but backing the Yankees in a favorite role with their string of disappointments this season doesn’t seem like the optimal way to play this game.

Pick: Boston Red Sox

Red Sox vs. Yankees Pick: Red Sox