By: Willie Bee
Ian Kennedy will experience a couple of firsts in Sunday's series finale between the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees. Dealt this past week from Arizona to San Diego, Kennedy is set to make his Padres debut in front of his new home fans, and the start will come against the club that made him the 21st overall pick out of USC in the 2006 draft.
Adding to the excitement is San Diego asking Kennedy to deliver its first series victory over the Yankees when the clubs meet at Petco Park. Phil Hughes, a 1st-round selection by New York in 2004, will oppose his former major and minor league teammate in the contest that has the Padres very slight home favorites according to SBR's live MLB odds.
The total has moved between 7.5 and 8 runs since it was first introduced on the overnight lines; most sports books are listing 7.5 on game day with the UNDER juiced a bit more.
Ivan Nova helped New York even the set on Saturday in a 3-0 final. Nova and Tyson Ross hooked up in a scoreless duel for six innings before Curtis Granderson's 2-run shot in the seventh broke up the scoreless affair.
Hughes is also seeing the Padres for the first time in his career, and the Yankees have lost his two previous interleague assignments vs. the Diamondbacks and Dodgers. New York has won his last two starts, though Hughes failed to decision in either victory vs. the Rays and Rangers. He has performed well away from home with a 3.02 ERA while the Yanks won five of the nine contests.
Kennedy spent parts of three seasons with the Yanks before being part of the big 3-team swap with Arizona in Dec. '09 that saw Granderson moved to the Bronx and Max Scherzer shipped to Detroit. The former star for the Trojans just missed a chance to face the Yankees back in April when the D-Backs visited the Bronx. He will be seeking his first victory since June 1 as the Diamondbacks dropped nine of his last 10 starts before the deadline deal. Kennedy pitched twice at Petco Park earlier this year, both Arizona losses, and is 3-1 lifetime on this mound with a 2.27 ERA (35.2 IP).
Assuming the umpire rotation holds true, Alfonso Marquez should make his 23rd plate assignment in Game 3. The native of Zacatecas, Mexico is 10-12 O/U on the year with five of his last six appearances behind the mask staying UNDER. The thermometer should be squarely on 70º under sunny skies for the 1 PM local start, a 10 mph WNW breeze blowing in from left field.
Sunday's Betting Lines & Odds Report will get you sorted out for the day's betting!~
Neither pitcher gives me much confidence, but it's not like they're facing potent lineups that lead to thoughts of a slugfest. I'm simply going to get behind Kennedy who should have some extra adrenaline flowing. Play the Pads vs. the Yanks.
My pick: Padres -108 at Bet365
By: Willie Bee
So much for their first appearance at Petco Park being a success for the New York Yankees. Despite getting Curtis Granderson back from the disabled list, the lineup didn't have much to offer and CC Sabathia once again threw batting practice in Friday's 7-2 loss to the San Diego Padres.
New York will try again Saturday when manager Joe Girardi sends Ivan Nova to the mound as a small favorite. Most baseball books monitored by SBR's live MLB odds have installed the Yankees in the -110 to -115 range on the moneyline against San Diego's Tyson Ross, while Game 2 is carrying a 7 run total which is priced to the OVER.
Andrew Cashner and a pair of Padre relievers limited the Yankees to seven hits in the series opener while Sabathia was laboring to get two outs into the sixth. The setback was New York's eighth in 13 games since the all-star break, and the fifth straight with Sabathia on the hill.
Nova enjoyed a fine month of July with a 2.03 ERA in four starts, but a stagnant NY offense couldn't support him enough to do better than split the assignments with both losses coming in shutouts to the Rangers and Rays. Saturday will be Nova's first experience vs. the Padres, and Carlos Quentin is the only hitter in their lineup to have faced the Dominican before, going 0-for-6 with three K's.
The Dominican beat the Diamondbacks back in April in his only interleague start this season, extending his streak to four straight dubyas against NL squads.
Ross has seen the Yankees four times over his career, all while he was with the A's, though only one of the appearances came as a starter. That start was in May 2012 in Oakland where New York poked three homers off the lanky righty and plated six runs by the time he was relieved in the fifth. Saturday will be his third consecutive start following 19 relief outings, and he looked sharp in the previous two assignments to pick up road wins in Milwaukee and Arizona.
Don't forget to check out the Betting Odds Report for today!~
Another clear, pleasant evening is on tap for the game that gets underway at 20-to-6 local time. Next up in the umpire rotation should be Scott Barry who brings an 11-8-3 O/U/P mark into the middle game of the set. His previous four appearances at Petco Park have seen both the Padres and totals split the outcomes, 2-2.
The Yankees are a mess right now, but I still like how Nova has been pitching and will get behind them once more with a free pick on the short price.
My pick: Yankees -112 at Bet365
By: Willie Bee
Game analysis and free MLB picks are on tap this weekend as the New York Yankees continue a West Coast interleague swing with a stop in San Diego vs. the Padres.
Do you think New York Yankees players will ooh and ahh a bit Friday when they get their first look at Petco Park, like other players used to do the first time they played at old Yankee Stadium? Maybe not, but it's still going to be a new experience for the Yankees who make a rare stop in San Diego to meet the Padres this weekend.
Helping to add more novelty to Friday's series opener is the fact the Yankees didn't go out as favorites though they will have CC Sabathia on the mound. Initial MLB odds had the game a pick 'em with Andrew Cashner on tap for the Padres. That moneyline has held at most baseball betting outlets following overnight trading.
A 7.5 run total started the proceedings, but that is down to 7 at most shops.
New York and San Diego have met just nine times during the regular season, plus four more in the 1998 World Series that the Yankees swept. It has been five years since the clubs last got together in the final season of old Yankee Stadium, and it ended in another pinstripe broom job. More than 11 years have passed since the Yankees visited the Padres at Jack Murphy-slash-Qualcomm Stadium where the NY rotation at the time included names like David Cone, David Wells and Hideki Irabu.
All told, the Yanks have never dropped a series to the Pads, and own an 11-2 record counting that '98 World Championship.
Sabathia Struggling Through Tough 2013 Campaign
New York slots fifth in the AL Wild Card standings right now, just five games over .500 to begin the weekend. The pitching staff did a great job early on keeping the team close to the top of the AL East despite the patchwork offense Joe Girardi has been working with, but that formula hasn't worked the past month or more.
Seven runs is the most the Yankees have scored in a game since the all-star break and that came in an 8-7 defeat, plus they've been shut out twice. Steadily losing ground, New York closed July 5-7 and they rank 13th in the AL plating 3.85 runs per game.
Two of the seven losses since the break have been with Sabathia on the mound, and he's taking his fifth crack at win No. 10 to extend his string to 13 consecutive seasons in double digits of that category. The last two losses were particularly rough since they came to the Red Sox and Rays, Sabathia allowing seven runs and working five innings each time out.
He has had some success against the Padres, albeit limited (2.12 ERA, 29.2 IP), and he has worked at Petco Park before. Sabathia pitched here in 2008 while with the Brewers, dancing around nine hits to allow just a run in seven innings of a 7-1 triumph.
Padres Look To Play Out '13 As Spoilers
Yeah, yeah, I know… San Diego is still mathematically in the picture, especially in a goofy NL West where all five teams were within 10 games of each other entering play Thursday. But I haven't heard about a rush to the baseball betting windows to buy Padres futures where they're 70/1 to win their first NL flag since meeting New York in 1998.
They could certainly become spoilers in one race or another down the stretch, and at least become a tough out for visitors to Petco where they're 29-24. That record includes 4-3 in Cashner's seven home starts, though he hasn't had a win here since June 11 having made five of his last seven appearances away from home. He managed to survive for the win last Saturday in Arizona despite walking five and allowing his first two homers since the end of May.
Weather shouldn't be an issue Friday or the rest of the weekend. Games 1 and 2 should find the late-afternoon/evening skies mostly clear with temps in the upper-60s, with Sunday's matinee reaching the low-to-mid 70s. If there are any changes to that, we'll let you know.
The Yankees could get a boost on offense with the expected return of Curtis Granderson on Friday, and I'm looking for good things in their first contest at Petco Park. The Yankees will be my free pick for Game 1 in this series.
My pick: New York-110 at Bet 365