MLB Pick: Sabathia & Yankees Set To Top Athletics & Sliding Gray

Jay Pryce

Friday, May 20, 2016 12:00 PM GMT

The Yankees and Athletics tangle in the second of a four-game stand at Oakland Coliseum tonight. Need a pick? We got ya covered with this informative betting preview and Free MLB Pick.

New York Yankees (18-22) – CC Sabathia (2-2, 3.81 ERA)
The Yankees' 4-1 victory in the first of a four-game series against the Athletics last night is a rare occurrence recently. Since the summer of 2012, New York is 9-21 SU versus the AL West team, and a dismal 3-12 at Oakland Coliseum. In the 30 game span, the Pinstripers are crossing the plate just 3.3 times per game.

Will New York's bats elevate this trip? If so, they will need to buck the trend. The Yankees can't hit this season; their 3.74 runs per game rank 25th in MLB. Owning the sixth best strikeout percentage (19.3), coupled with a patient approach at the plate that earns them 3.03 walks per game, they can get on base. But finding holes in the defense and generating power is a chore. The rosters' .270 BABIP is the lowest in the bigs, and its .376 slugging percentage fourth lowest behind the Phillies, Padres, and Braves. Slow start? Yes. But their numbers are unbelievable considering the payroll and the fact home is the hitting-friendly new Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia gets the nod for skipper Joe Girardi, his first action in more than two weeks following a brief stint on the DL because of a groin strain. Despite the veteran southpaw's well publicized struggles last season, he's off to a solid start in 2016. The staff has allowed three runs or fewer in all but one of Sabathia's outings for an average of 2.6 runs per game.

The Yankees, however, are just 3-7 in Sabathia's last 10 road starts as underdogs of +110 or more. Sports books opened the AL East club at +135 to win tonight's contest.

The 2007 Cy Young Award winner is 9-11 with a 4.71 ERA in 29 starts against Oakland lifetime. He's pitched well against the heart of manager Bob Melvin's lineup, allowing a .105 batting average to Josh Reddick (2 for 19) and .259 mark against Danny Valencia (7 for 27).

 

Oakland Athletics (19-23) – Sonny Gray (3-4, 5.84 ERA)
The 2016 campaign is not very bright for Sonny Gray so far. The Oakland ace and 2015 Cy Young candidate carries an ugly 5.84 ERA and 1.54 WHIP into tonight's tilt.

After starting the season with four quality starts, Gray has failed to register one in his last four outings. Since a meltdown in Detroit, where the All Star was chased four four earned runs on four hits and four walks in two innings, the A's staff yield 9.2 runs on 10.8 hits per game when he commands the hill.

The All Star is 1-1 with a 3.43 ERA in three career outings against New York. He's stymied Girardi's big sticks, holding Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira to three hits in 21 plate appearances.

 

Final Analysis
Whether its mechanical, or an injury, or something else, the wheels started to fall off for Gray late last season. Since mid-August, the As are 2-6 in the sinkerballer's last eight starts. Outside of a 4-0 shutout of the Astros last September, the staff has yielded four runs or more in each start. It's hard to back the ace until he shows any consistency. Sabathia, meanwhile, is tossing as well as ever in the last calendar year prior to the injury. The MLB odds have the Yankees at +125, which is good value here for your MLB picks collection.

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Free MLB Pick:  Yankees +125
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage