Blue Jays/Yankees MLB Picks: Bronx Bombers to Even Out Series

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 3:33 PM GMT

After a day off, it is Game 2 for the Toronto and New York and though the Yankees are normally a public team when it comes to MLB odds, but that is not the case thus far this morning.

I’ll have more on that later, as manager Joe Girardi’s squad looks to rebound from Opening Day pasting at the hands of the Blue Jays. Here is a look at tonight 7:05 EDT tilt, keeping the MLB odds in mind.

 

Toronto is Division Contender if Pitching Holds Up
The Blue Jays won 83 games last season and could have won more except for its pitching. Manager John Gibbons has few places to turn with a staff that was in the bottom half in the American League in ERA, OBP, OPS, walks allowed and home runs allows. Some might argue they were tied with Baltimore for shots over the ball at 151, however, Orioles pitchers conceded 145 fewer total bases, which in part helped build a differential of 13 games in final record between these teams.

Nobody will question the power the Jays lineup has with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson. But last year’s squad had clubhouse issues as most MLB baseball handicappers know and having players like Donaldson and catcher Russell Martin should make the locker room less toxic.

Now if the pitching improves, Toronto moves up in the American League East.

 

New York Seen as Boring, Need Quick Start to Energize Fan Base and Bettors
After being the gold standard of which all teams were measure against from 1995 to 2012, the Yankees are coming 84 and 85 win seasons, which did not result in playoff appearances. Though New York only lost 2.2 units for those placing sports picks in 2014, everyone understood their 84 wins was a sham because their -31 run differential was the sixth-worst in the AL and that run differential profile is that of a team winning 77 times, not seven better.

The “Core Four” is now all retired and Alex Rodriquez is 40 and batting seventh. A look at the rest of the roster does not create much excitement, though solid players like Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner remain, but in the Big Apple the Mets are the up and coming team while the Yanks tread water.

The Pinstripes will look to avoid a fourth straight 0-2 start tonight and truly need to be attention-getters because right now, even the wagering public is not supporting New York and their lines are uncharacteristically normal compared to inflated.

 

Starting Pitching Matchup – Dickey vs. Pineda
Knuckleballer R.A. is 40 years old and is coming off a .500 season with a 3.71 ERA and WHIP of 1.23. Dickey is an innings-eater, leading the Toronto staff last year with 215 2/3 and throws his specialized pitch harder than most of his kind. Dickey will mix in a fastball, usually when he’s behind in the count or working the bottom of the order. Lifetime he is 4-3 versus the Yankees, with an ERA of 3.00 including 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in the last four. However, if you are making MLB picks you should know the Jays are 0-3 when Dickey starts for them at Yankee Stadium.

New York thought they had a building block for the future of their starting staff when they acquired Michael Pineda from Seattle. Instead, Pineda only made 13 starts after shoulder surgery last season. At 6’7, 265 pounds he’s an intimidating presence on the hill and has mid-90’s heater, along with cutter and what scouts call “wipeout” slider (basically unhittable when going from strike to out of the zone vs. RH batters). Still working on change, but his ¾ motion causes shoulder concerns. Pineda has faced Toronto more than any opponent, going 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA in five outings.

 

Fantasy Spin
A-Rod is 8 for 22 with a homer and two doubles in his career against Dickey.

Sluggers Bautista and Encarnacion are a combined 5 for 27 against the Pineda. However, Encarnacion is hitting .344 with four homers against the Yankees since the start of last year. 

 

Odds and Outcome
Sportsbooks have sent the Bronx Bombers out at a fairly traditional -140 money line playing at home with a total 7.5. Neither figure has held up with New York down to around -120 at most wagering outlets and the total to 7.

Even with the loss on Monday, the Yankees have taken 17 of 21 at home versus Toronto and if Pineda can avoid being taken deep, they should stay in the game. The question become will Girardi’s batter’s figure out the dancing knuckleball. My feeling this will be decided by the bullpens and I’ll give a slight nod to New York with my MLB picks because of it.

MLB Free Picks – New York wins -115 at 5Dimes