MLB Pick on ‘under’ in Battle of Last Place Teams as Yankees Visit Twins

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:00 AM GMT

In what is now a battle of last place teams, CC Sabathia of the Yankees is enjoying a resurgent season, helping make the ‘under’ the MLB pick visiting the Twins in Minnesota.

 

MLB Record: 41-36-2, +7.57
There is a rather unexpected battle of last place teams Thursday night relative to preseason expectations, and the ‘under’ could be the right call when resurgent southpaw CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees (31-34, 13-20 away) pay a visit to right-hander Kyle Gibson and the Minnesota Twins (20-45, 12-21 home) in the first game of a four-game weekend series from Target Field in Minneapolis, MN at 8:10 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - North.

The posted total at Heritage Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current MLB odds on the ‘under’ set at +100.

 

It is Not 2015 Any More
Both of these teams are coming off of relatively successful seasons last year and yet now find themselves in last place in their respective divisions. The Yankees appeared to have turned things around by winning the first five games of their last home stand, but they dropped the last two games at home and have now lost four straight games after getting swept in a brief two-game series by the Rockies in Colorado, leaving New York in the American League East cellar.

The Twins meanwhile are not only in the basement of the American League Central, but they have also been the worst MLB picks in the American League at 20-45, with only the 19-46 Atlanta Braves of the National League having a worse record in the Major Leagues. This comes on the heels of Minnesota finishing in second place behind the eventual World Series Champion Kansas City Royals last year at 84-78.




 

Nice Comeback Season for CC
The Yankees meanwhile made the playoffs as a wild card last season, but Sabathia made headlines off the field during that playoff stretch run by checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center. Apparently CC has straightened himself out, as the 35-year-old has bounced back with his best season in a long time so far!

Sabathia has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his 10 starts this year while posting a 2.28 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, and he has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last six outings including throwing seven shutout innings at the Detroit Tigers last Friday allowing only five hits for his third scoreless outing in the current six-game stretch.

You can make a very strong case that Sabathia has been the best Yankee pitcher this season, which was totally unexpected given both his age and the fact that he has not posted an ERA lower than 4.73 since 2012, and he can be expected to pitch well again tonight vs. a Minnesota offense that is 26th in the majors in scoring with 3.88 runs per game.

 

Gibson Can Improve
Now, we totally get that Gibson has been abysmal for the Twins this season at 0-4 with a 6.49 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in five starts and he had a poor return after spending nearly two months on the disabled list with shoulder issues as he was touched up for five earned runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings by the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

The silver lining though is that he felt no discomfort after that game and should be stronger for this second start back, and remember this is still a pitcher that finished with a 3.96 FIP and 3.95 xFIP last season and a 3.80 FIP and 3.99 xFIP two years ago. Those figures may not be spectacular but they are solid and consistent and he should eventually converge to that kind of form if his shoulder is truly healed.

Gibson may also get some assistance from the Yankees offense too, which is sporting a makeshift lineup these days with Mark Teixeira on the disabled list and now Carlos Beltran out after having some fluid drained from his knee. The Yankees are batting only .235 and averaging 3.80 runs over the last five games, as they were forced to bat Starlin Castro either third or cleanup in most of those contests, which is not the type of hitter he is.

 

Trending the ‘under’
Finally, the ‘under’ is now 6-1-1 in Sabathia’s last eight starts on grass, 9-1-1 in his last 11 starts vs. teams with losing records and 20-6-5 in the Yankees’ last 31 games following a loss. The ‘under’ is also 5-2 in Gibson’s last seven starts pitching with the normal four days of rest.

We expect those trends to continue with Sabathia red-hot and Gibson capable of better, so go ‘under’ the total when the New York Yankees open up a series vs. the Twins in Minneapolis on Thursday.

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MLB Pick: Yankees and Twins to go ‘Under’ 

Best Line Offered: 8½  (-105) at TheGreek