Angels vs. Yankees Game 3
By: Willie Bee
A backup catcher and quartet of relievers helped the New York Yankees into the winner's circle Saturday, leveling their series against Los Angeles Angels and setting the stage for a big rubber game Sunday in front of a national TV audience.
Many of the viewers tuning into ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcast (8 PM ET) will be getting their first look at the latest Japanese pitching sensation, Masahiro Tanaka. The New York rookie will be opposed by Garrett Richards of the Halos, and the Yankees opened as -150 chalk, that moneyline correcting up to around -165.
SBR's live baseball odds show an 8 run total, the low side taxed a little higher.
Neither starter Saturday made it through the fifth inning, and both teams left a lot of traffic on the bases thanks to a combined 3-for-21 effort with runners in scoring position. Backup catcher John Ryan Murphy slugged his first career homer, which proved to be the winning run in New York's 4-3 triumph, while the Yankees got 4.2 shutout innings from their bullpen to avoid going down two-love in the set.
Tanaka Aims For 4-0
Start To MLB Career
Richards is heading to the mound for his fifth start of 2014, three of the previous four leading to LA wins. The latest was this past Monday in the opener of the series in Washington, a 4-2 Angels victory in which Richards didn't figure into the decision despite a solid appearance (6 IP, 1 ER).
All three of his road assignments ended in the win column for Los Angeles, but both of his previous starts at Yankee Stadium were losses (13 IP, 8 ER). Richards did pitch well here last August, but received no support in a 2-1 loss vs. Hiroki Kuroda.
He'll face another Japanese hurler Sunday night when Tanaka looks to extend his excellent foray into the majors. He was on the mound Tuesday in Boston when the Yankees began their series vs. the Red Sox, and got plenty of support in a 9-3 decision. Tanaka is seeing the Angels for the first time, and has amassed 35 strikeouts in his first 29.1 innings.
Umpire Notes, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
Bill Welke's start to 2014 has been profitable for those betting on the visitors and the 'over.' The 15-year veteran umpire is 3-1 O/U, all three 'overs' with totals of 8.5, and visitors are also 3-1 when he works the plate (2-1 as underdog).
The weatherman says the game should be uninterrupted by Mother Nature, a 20% chance of showers during the day tapering off by late afternoon with a game-time temp in the mid-50s and light NW breeze (out to right).
At some point in time, Tanaka is going to have a rough go against a major league lineup and suffer his first loss. I'm not sure that will be today, however, and will send my free baseball pick out on the low side of the total.
My Pick: Angels-Yankees Under 8 (-110)
Angels vs. Yankees Game 2
By: Willie Bee
We expected offense Friday evening when the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees cranked up their weekend series in the Bronx. What was not foreseen, however, was the fireworks only coming from one lineup.
The Angels certainly brought their sticks to New York for the weekend, kicking things off with a laugher in the series opener. Now the Yankees face leveling the set with a Saturday matinee that can be seen on FOX Sports (1:05 PM ET). The clash features a pair of 26-year-old southpaws on the mound as Hector Santiago takes the ball from Los Angeles skipper Mike Scioscia and Joe Girardi sending out Vidal Nuno.
Another tight moneyline awaits baseball bettors with New York small chalk in the -110 to -115 range. The total has moved between 9 and 9.5, SBR's live MLB odds showing it on the lower of those two marks after overnight wagering.
Nuno Part Of Yankees
Rotation For Foreseeable Future
Traded from the White Sox to the Angels this winter as part of a 3-team swap that also involved the Diamondbacks, Santiago earned a spot in LA's rotation with a nice spring. The Newark native appeared in five exhibition games, recording a 3.63 ERA in just over 22 innings while holding opponents to a .210 average.
He's managed to post a very similar ERA in four regular season assignments, but the Angels have lost each time, eight total runs of support part of the problem. Santiago faced the Yankees once a year ago, working 5.2 innings and allowing four runs, but didn't figure into the decision as the Pale Hose took a 6-5 decision in 12 frames.
Ivan Nova's season-ending elbow injury put Nuno into New York's rotation, and he'll try to build off his outing at Tampa Bay last Sunday when he blanked the Rays over five innings of an eventual 5-1 Yankees win. Baltimore lit him up in his previous start (3.1 IP, 7 ER), which came at Yankee Stadium, and he's likely to be limited to 75 pitches Saturday when he faces the Angels for the first time in his brief career.
Umpire Note, Mother
Nature & A Pick
Now in his first full season at the major league level, Hal 'Tripp' Gibson III is next in the umpire rotation for plate duty. His five previous assignments under the mask have gone 3-2 O/U after a 1-5 O/U mark in limited duty a year ago.
The showers that were supposed to come Friday night never made it, but could possibly interfere with today's match. There's a 60% chance of precip in the forecast, along with 10-15 mph winds out of the West-Northwest (out to right-center).
New York's lineup was quiet Friday while LA hitters clubbed four homers among their 16 hits. Let's see if the Yankees can join the fun Saturday with another free MLB pick on the 'over'.
My Pick: Angels-Yankees Over 9 (-110)
Season: 22-25 (-4.5)
Angels vs. Yankees Game 1
By: Willie Bee
If it's stars you want to see, then Yankee Stadium is the place to be. Granted, the skies may be too cloudy to pick out actual constellations, but there will still be plenty of stars on the field when the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees open their 3-game series.
Game 1 is set to get underway at 7:05 PM (ET) when Hiroki Kuroda deals for the Yankees opposite CJ Wilson of the Halos. New York remains around -120 where the moneyline started, and SBR's live MLB odds show the total down a half from the opening 9 run mark.
This has been a fairly level series in recent years, each team doing a good job of taking care of business in their own parks. The Yankees own a slim 23-20 since the start of the '09 schedule, winning 15 of the 22 played on 161st Street. Three of the four matchups in the Bronx last year went New York's way, as well as three of the four going the way of 'over' bettors.
Angels Wrap Up 3-City
Tour With Stop In Bronx
One of the toughest road trips any team will endure this season is about to end for Los Angeles (10-11, -3.2 units). The Angels began this journey against three playoff contenders in Detroit, losing two of three to the Tigers before moving on to DC where they missed out on sweeping the Nationals, thanks to a big 9th-inning rally by Washington on Wednesday.
Mike Scioscia's squad will enjoy a lengthy homestand following this set in New York, including a visit from the Yankees less than two weeks from now.
First things first, however, as they need to take care of business in New York, and Scioscia has a pitcher for Game 1 that has had success against the Yankees. The Angels are 3-1 against the Yanks with Wilson on the hill since joined the club prior to the 2012 season, 2-1 in his three Bronx assignments, and the lefty has pitched to a 2.02 ERA in those matchups.
Wilson has run hot-&-cold in four starts this season, beating offensively-challenged lineups the Mets and Astros threw at him (15 IP combined, 3 ER) while suffering losses in appearances vs. the Mariners and Tigers (10.2 IP, 9 ER). He has been tough on a few bats in New York's batting order (Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira & Ichiro Suzuki combined 13-for-76), but found the going tough facing others (Derek Jeter & Alfonso Soriano 13-for-30).
Yanks Return Home Following 4-3 Road Trip
A 7-game road trip New York (13-9, +3.3 units) ended Thursday night in Boston, and the Yankees closed that series with a bang. The Bronx Bombers ran roughshod over the Red Sox with a season-high 14 runs, five of the plate crossings unearned thanks to a sloppy Beantown defense that committed five errors.
Kuroda is facing the Angels for the seventh time in his career, and fourth since he donned the pinstripes in 2012. The Yankees and Dodgers have won four of his previous six assignments against the Anaheim bunch, Kuroda posting a fine 2.15 ERA in those 41+ frames.
The 39-year-old righthander has worked into the seventh in each of his previous starts this campaign at Yankee Stadium, facing the Orioles and Red Sox with victories against both. Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar are the only batters expected to be in LA's lineup Friday evening who have taken Kuroda deep.
It's not expected to be heavy downpours, but there is a 90% chance of rain in the Big Apple forecast for tonight. With the front expected to clear out before Saturday's matinee, don't be surprised if the umpires and ground crew give up early on this one and a doubleheader scheduled for either Saturday or Sunday.
Assuming they can get this one in, I like the batters to do their thing, and that's why I'm playing the low side of the total for my free MLB pick in Game 1.
My pick: Angels-Yankees Over 8.5 (-105)