The Yankees and Athletics have split the first two games of their MLB odds series in Oakland, setting the stage for a rubber game Sunday afternoon at O.Co Coliseum.
Yankees vs. Athletics Game 3
By: Willie Bee
A power outage interrupted Saturday's contest in Oakland between the Athletics and New York Yankees. When they got the lights turned back on, Scott Kazmir and a pair of relievers made sure the power remained off in the New York lineup.
Oakland moved to 12-2 behind Kazmir this season with a 5-1 triumph in Game 2 of the series, the southpaw surrendering an unearned run in six innings before turning things over to his bullpen. The victory helped the A's maintain their 3.5-game lead over the Angels in the AL West while the loss dropped the Yankees into a 2nd-place tie with the Orioles in the AL East, both squads 3.5 behind Toronto.
The deciding game in this series will get underway a little past 4 PM (ET) on Sunday with a pitching rematch from June 4 contest in New York. Vidal Nuno is next up in the Yankees rotation and Jesse Chavez gets the start for the A's who are favored in the -175 to -180 range on SBR's live MLB odds. Scoreboard bettors are faced with an 8 run total.
Yanks Hope To End Road Trip On Winning Note
An 'under' trend has developed in Nuno's recent starts, four of the last five failing to reach the total after his first three in May were easy 'over' winners. The southpaw has been a far more effective pitcher on the road than at home, his 1.80 ERA away from New York a big reason why the Yankees are 4-0 in those assignment
Nuno wasn't bad when he faced the A's in the Bronx 11 days ago, but he wore himself out working around hitters and never got out of the fifth having allowed two runs in an eventual 7-4 Oakland win.
Chavez wasn't great himself in that game, but did enough to get the win with a 6 IP, 4 ER linescore. That was his only career start vs. the Yankees, and he followed that up with arguably a better performance this past Monday in the series opener vs. the Angels, only to lose that game (6 IP, 2 ER).
Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Dale Scott has been a friend to 'under' bettors this season (4-8-1 O/U/P) to leave the 30-year veteran umpire 16-28-2 since the start of the 2013 schedule. His last three plate assignments in Oakland also failed to reach the scoreboard hurdle, including a June 2013 contest against the Yankees.
More of the same is the forecast for Sunday in Oakland, meaning plenty of sunshine, a first-pitch temp in the mid-70s and a 10-15 mph WSW wind (out to right).
New York could be without Mark Teixeira for this one after he was a late scratch from Saturday's lineup due to a sore rib cage. That's a big bat to miss, especially since Carlos Beltran hasn't been providing any power since his return from the DL. That has me thinking the low side of the total is the way to play this one for my my free pick.
My pick: Yankees-Athletics Under 8
Season: 64-62 (+1.90)
Yankees vs. Athletics Game 2
By: Willie Bee
The New York Yankees did their part to help 'over' bettors add a little green to their pockets on Friday, but the Oakland Athletics failed to cooperate.
New York's 7-0 victory in Game 1 fell just short of the total, but was more than enough for the Yankees to earn their fourth consecutive win and keep pace with Toronto in the AL East. Oakland's loss didn't hurt the A's in the AL West where they still own a 3.5-game lead over the Angels, but did snap a 7-game home winning streak over New York.
The Athletics will try and even the series Saturday (10:05 PM ET) when they send lefty Scott Kazmir to the mound, and they're once again decided favorites with moneyline prices in the -155 to -170 range. Hiroki Kuroda counters for the Yankees with SBR's live baseball odds showing a 7 run total that leans a bit to the 'over.'
Kazmir Among Top Starters In Cashing Moneyline Wagers
New York has found the winner's circle just five times in Kuroda's 13 starts, though the veteran righty has only one outing that would qualify as ugly. The 39-year-old pitched well enough to win both of his June assignments, combining to allow three runs over nearly 14 innings, but a lack of offense along with a poor effort by the bullpen in one match led to a pair of Yankee defeats.
One of those losses came at home to the A's 11 days ago, Kuroda leaving after seven frames with a 2-1 lead. Oakland rallied against New York relievers to tie the game and force extra innings, eventually winning 5-2 in the 10th.
Kazmir started that game for the A's and allowed both Yankee runs while striking out a season-high 10. He followed that up with seven shutout innings in Baltimore, helping Oakland to a third consecutive win with him on the mound and leaving bettors a healthy 11-2 (+7.8 units) in his assignments. The Houston native has held Derek Jeter to a .133 average over the years, but has had trouble against Mark Teixeira (.550, 2 HR).
Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Calling balls and strikes in Game 2 should be Tripp Gibson who is closing in on the 1-year anniversary of umpiring his first MLB contest. The Kentucky native has worked 12 games behind the dish this season, three of the last five staying 'under' the total to leave him 5-6-1 (O/U/P) for 2014.
We're looking at a similar weather forecast as Game 1, maybe a few more clouds and temps a bit cooler. The wind will be more out of the due west at 10-15 mph, which could help balls headed to right field. Oakland hitters can use all the help they can get after being whitewashed on Friday and scoring just one run in each of their losses to the Angels in Anaheim earlier this week.
New York hitters haven't exactly been tearing the cover off the ball in this 4-game win streak, but they're getting the job done nonetheless, and that's why I'm rolling out a free MLB pick on the visitors in Game 2.
My pick: Yankees +145
Season: 63-61 (+1.90)
Yankees vs. Athletics Game 1
By: Willie Bee
At some point the next few days, the Athletics will honor Derek Jeter as the New York Yankees captain makes his final regular season stop in Oakland. They'll lavish him with praise and presents, but what Jeter really wants is to help stop New York's skid on the A's home field. The latest numbers on the MLB betting board don't suggest that will happen in Friday's series opener (10:05 PM ET) when the Athletics are pronounced -180 favorites. Oakland has Sonny Gray on the mound to begin things while New York counters with David Phelps, and SBR's live baseball odds show a 7.5 run scoreboard hurdle.
For the second straight season, the A's and Yanks wrap up their regular season matchups with a month to go before the All-Star Game, and this set is a quick rematch from their series in New York less than two weeks ago. New York won the finale of that one to avoid being swept, stopping a 6-game losing streak to the Athletics in the process. New York still drags a 7-game skid in Oakland into the weekend after being broomed on this diamond the last two trips to The Coliseum. Two of three in Oakland last season failed to reach the totals, leaving 'under' bettors a profitable 6-2 in the last eight hosted by the Athletics.
Ellsbury Nursing Sore Hip As Yanks Reach Oakland
New York (34-31, -0.4 units, 29-36 O/U) is finishing a long road trip that was shortened by a game due to rain in Kansas City on Monday. The Yankees dropped two of the three to the Royals, but turned things back around by sweeping the Mariners in Seattle the past three days. Thursday's 6-3 win came with a bit of a price, however, as Jacoby Ellsbury left the game with tightness in his right hip after banging into the wall at Safeco Field. Ellsbury's status for Friday's matchup is uncertain at this time.
Friday is Phelps' eighth start for the Yankees after nine games out of their bullpen in April. New York has lost six of Phelps' previous seven assignments, the only win at home over a Pirates crew that was in the middle of a 2-6 stretch in mid-May. Kansas City and Seattle lineups pelted him pretty good in two June outings, Phelps hurling 11.2 innings combined in those contests, and charged with 13 runs. The former Notre Dame standout will be making his first career start against the A's.; all three of his appearances against them up to now coming in relief. Phelps has allowed just one hit and no runs in a combined five innings versus Oakland.
Gray In Rut As He Prepares To Face Yankees For 1st Time
An off-day on Thursday was the reward for Oakland (40-26, +7.3 units, 33-29-4 O/U/P) following a 9-game road trip that took the A's through New York, Baltimore and Anaheim. The Athletics closed the journey with a win Wednesday to avoid being swept by the Angels, and start the series with the best record in the AL for a 3.5-game lead in the AL West.
Gray is facing the Yankees for the first time in his young career, with Brian Roberts the only member of New York's roster who has seen the former Vanderbilt star before. Oakland has lost three of Gray's last four starts, his ERA rising about three-quarters of a run in that span, and the A's are 4-3 in his seven assignments at home where his ERA is a run-&-a-quarter more than on the road.
Baseball bettors have nothing to worry about on the weather front this weekend in Oakland, at least from the standpoint of rain. Friday's first pitch should find the skies above clear and the thermometer in the upper-60s, and that's pretty much the same forecast for Saturday eveing's matchup. The wind is going to shift around this weekend, however, beginning with a WNW blow (3B to RF corner) of 10-15 mph for Game 1.
New York has fared pretty well on the road, so taking the Yankees with a nice return on the moneyline is tempting. But I've got more confidence in both lineups doing enough to send this one past the total, and that's going to be my free pick for Game 1.
My Free MLB Pick: Yankees-Athletics 'Over' 7.5 (+100); Season: 62-60 (+1.10)