There's a heated race going on at the top of the AL East, and it's between these two teams, meaning this upcoming series is hugely important. Are we backing Toronto or New York with our MLB picks?
With ace David Price on the bump, the Blue Jays enter tonight's game as the MLB odds favorites. They're quoted at right around -145 to pick up the win and improve to 80-60 overall on the season.
If you really like the Yankees in this spot and think they're well worth taking at home, you can find an attractive price of +135 on their heads. They'll be trotting out Luis Severino to the bump in hopes he can twirl a quality start in front of the Bronx faithful.
New York Yankees (Severino)
The Yankees can't be pleased with how they closed out their most recent series at home against the Orioles, as they lost each of the final two games of the set. They've still been playing solid baseball overall, going 5-3 over their previous eight games, but they remain one and a half games back of Toronto for first place in the division.
Tonight we'll see Severino get the call, and the rookie has been excellent to start his MLB career so far. He's gone 3-2 with a 2.04 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over his first six assignments, and he was able to hold his own against Toronto in his one meeting against them. Severino went six innings and allowed five hits and three runs while striking out nine in a losing decision.
The 21-year-old right-hander has gotten the job done at home as well, posting a 1.56 ERA (and .188 opponent batting average) over 17 and 1/3 innings. It's never easy against Toronto's loaded offense, however, so Severino will need to be locked in early.
Toronto Blue Jays (Price)
Like the Yankees, the Blue Jays just lost two of three in their last series, topped off by a bad 10-4 loss to Joe Kelly and the Red Sox at Fenway last night. Drew Hutchison was beaten up badly and that put Toronto in a huge early hole that they weren't able to climb out of.
Nonetheless, the Blue Jays still hold the smal advantage over New York in the AL East, and now they'll have Mr. Reliable David Price taking the bump. The lefty has gone 14-5 with a 2.43 ERA and 1.07 WHIP so far this season, and he's actually been better on the road than at home, compiling a 9-2 record and fantastic 2.02 ERA.
The Blue Jays are going to keep riding Price as much as they can as they get set for a run in the playoffs, but they'll be hoping he can fare better against the Yankees than he has managed to do earlier this season. More on that below.
A lot of people will gravitate towards the Blue Jays here with Price on the mound, but we see more value on the other side of the equation this evening.
For one, the Yankees have been one of the few teams to find success against the otherwise dominant southpaw in 2015. They've racked up 24 hits and 11 earned runs over 16 and 2/3 innings against Price (5.94 ERA in those meetings), so it looks like the Bronx Bombers have figured him out. What's more, Severino has shown some really good things in his rookie season and has only allowed three earned runs in his first three starts inside Yankee Stadium; he's certainly proven he can hang at the major league level.
So, with our MLB picks, we're going to take a chance on New York at this nice underdog price, as we feel they have a great chance of securing the win in the series opener.