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Blue Jays vs. Yankees MLB Picks and Expert Predictions

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Blue Jays vs. Yankees MLB Picks and Expert Predictions
Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP

The Blue Jays and Yankees continue their three-game series in New York on Wednesday night. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 – 07:05 PM EDT at Yankee Stadium

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Time to bring in the quants. Comparing the following projections to the MLB odds will help us make the right choice:

FiveThirtyEight: Yankees 69 percent

Equivalent Odds (using SBR's Odds Converter): -223

The Yankees opened as -259 favorites, but over at FiveThirtyEight, they already have them at -223 based on our calculations. There’s a gap between the projections and the actual MLB odds.

A difference like this is usually enough for us to not recommend opening up your wallet and/or purse and splashing some money around on the favorite. So what will it be, Human or Machine?

Tanner Roark vs. Gerrit Cole

Tanner Roark (2-1, 5.60 ERA, 1.73 WHIP)

Tanner Roark hasn't pitched more than five innings in any of his eight starts this season. Roark lasted less than five innings in his last two starts, including Wednesday's game against the Yankees.

The right-hander gave up two earned runs on two hits (two home runs) with three strikeouts and three walks over just four innings to get a no-decision in a 7-2 loss against New York.

Overall, Roark is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in three career starts against the Yankees with 15 strikeouts over 16 1/3 innings. Gleyber Torres is 5-for-7 with two home runs and two RBIs against Roark but DJ LeMahieu is just 2-for-11.

Gerrit Cole (5-3, 3.20 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)

Gerrit Cole started the year 4-0 to extend his regular season winning streak to 20 games and his undefeated streak to 28 outings. Then, he went winless in four decisions and lost three straight starts before Friday's start.

Cole's 28-game undefeated streak is tied for the second-longest stretch without a loss for a starting pitcher in MLB history (Roger Clemens went 30 straight starts without a loss from 1998 to 1999).

The right-hander faced the Orioles on Friday and threw seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball with nine strikeouts and one walk in a 6-0 win. Keeping the ball in the park has been a major issue for him this season. Cole has given up at least one home run in nine of his 10 starts. Overall, he's surrendered 13 home runs over 59 innings in 10 starts this season.

Cole is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in two career starts against the Blue Jays with 16 strikeouts over 11 innings. Joe Panik hits Cole well. Panik is 4-for-9 against him and Travis Shaw is just 3-for-14 but he has two home runs.

Judge Still Out

Aaron Judge missed some time early in the season and came back in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Braves on August 26th. He went 1-for-3 with a strikeout but left the game after apparently reinjuring his leg while running to second base when Luke Voit hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

"He tightened up again in that calf area running to second base, so we'll see where he's at," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Doesn't seem to be overly serious but enough that we needed to get him out of there. [It's] frustrating, no question. Obviously, he's very frustrated, but we'll see where we're at as we get through it tonight and where he's at feeling tomorrow."

Judge was on the 10-day injured due to a right calf strain since August 11th and he is still on the injured list. Last year's Yankees team also dealt with many injures but they seemed to have a next man up mentality. That hasn't been the case for most of this season and it's clear that they miss their star right fielder.

Prediction

Not having Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela has been hard to overcome for the Yankees. DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres (115 Weighted Runs Created Plus) also missed some time and all of these injuries caught up to them.

Urshela is (134 Weighted Runs Created Plus) will come back in this series, which is very important for the Yankees moving forward. A Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 100 is league average. Urshela's 134 would be 34 percent above league average. This means that Urshela created 34 percent more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances.

The Blue Jays will miss Teoscar Hernandez, who leads the team with a .308 batting average and 14 home runs. The player to watch for them is Randal Grichuk, he leads the Blue Jays in RBIs and as of this writing he has five home runs in road games but he is just 1-for-9 with five strikeouts against Cole.

The projected Yankees lineup has eight batters with a Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) above .340 and eight batters with Isolated Power (ISO) above .185. I like the Yankees 1st 5 for my MLB picks. Roark is essentially a five-inning pitcher this season and the Yankees can get to him early and take a lead.

My Pick: Yankees 1st 5 -1.5 (-180) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Yankees 1st 5 -1.5(-180)
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