Things are really looking up for the New York Yankees who take a 4-game lead in the AL East Division into Wednesday's series finale at the Seattle Mariners.

They pounded longtime nemesis Felix Hernandez in Monday's series opener for a 9-3 win while set as the MLB betting road dogs at +110. Tuesday saw New York get a rare well-pitched game from AJ Burnett with Mariano Rivera picking up the 600th save of his illustrious career for a 3-2 victory as -160 chalk. 

Ivan Nova

New York will go for the sweep Wednesday evening in the second game of an ESPN doubleheader (10:10 PM ET). The Yankees are 2/1 MLB odds favorites behind Ivan Nova who will match up with Seattle's Jason Vargas on an 8-run total. 

Joe Girardi has to be feeling good about things right now. Not only does his club have a small cushion atop of the American League East division and steaming towards home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, New York just got back-to-back solid performances from Burnett and Phil Hughes who started Monday's triumph.

If both pitchers are ready to contribute, it leaves Girardi with a problem he's happy to have: How to manage a 6-man rotation in October. 

The Yankees obviously won't rotate six starters come the postseason, but adding Hughes and Burnett to the options is a good thing. 

Nova (15-4, 3.94) has been Girardi's second most reliable starter this season. In fact, the team has a .750 win percentage (18-6) with Nova on the hill and is .677 (21-10) when CC Sabathia takes his turn. MLB bettors that backed Nova have also brought home more winnings in 2011, 10.3 units compared to 4.6 for bettors following Sabathia. 

New York had won Nova's last 12 starts before his effort in Baltimore the last time out. The Dominican will be pitching with an extra day of rest for the second consecutive start. 

It's his second turn this season against Seattle and here at Safeco Field, the first turning out to be one of Nova's 10 non-quality starts of 2011. He hit the showers during the fourth inning of that May 28 game, allowing four runs in what eventually became a 5-4 loss to the Mariners who were -145 on the MLB odds behind King Felix. 

The one big disadvantage is that Vargas (8-13, 4.49) throws the baseball with his left arm. New York mashes southpaws better than any other American League team, 33-14 after Tuesday's win started by Charlie Furbush. Not only is Vargas a lefty, but he's a lefty the Yankees have seen twice already this year, both games going into the win column for New York. 

Vargas hurled a combined seven innings in starts on May 29 and July 25, and the Yanks crossed the plate 14 times (10 earned). They also clubbed three homers off the former Long Beach State star. 

Tuesday's triumph helped New York to a 5-3 advantage in the season series with the Mariners, outscoring the M's 42-14. Mike Muchlinski will be the plate umpire this evening with the OVER on a recent 5-1-1 streak for the Tacoma, WA native. 

Taking a Chance: It's impossible to think of a reason to back Vargas in this spot, but once again there's not much joy in playing a -200 favorite, especially on the road. New York has Thursday off, and Girardi could elect to sit a regular or two this evening to give them two days rest. But I'm betting the pinstriped lineup will score some runs tonight regardless who is in it so let's split my usual wager: Yanks on the run line (-130) and the OVER 8.