Yankees vs. White Sox Game 4
By: Willie Bee
Chicago White Sox players and fans went home disappointed Saturday, the second time this week a New York Yankees 9th-inning inning rally stunned one half or the other of the Windy City. An injury-thinned Chicago bullpen is getting the blame from bettors holding White Sox tickets in Game 3, and it gives New York a chance to get away from The Cell with a 4-game split.
The Yanks and ChiSox settle things under the sun on Sunday (2:10 PM ET) with an intriguing matchup on the mound between Masahiro Tanaka and Andre Rienzo. SBR's live baseball odds sent this game out New York -170 with a 7.5 run total, those lines holding very close to the openers in overnight action.
White sox lefty John Danks was brilliant the first eight innings in Game 3, leaving with a 3-0 lead only to see his shot at the win disintegrate. Jacoby Ellsbury's solo homer in the 10th was the official game-winner for New York, but it was a 3-run barrage in the ninth against Belisario that sunk Chicago and allowed the Yanks to stop an 8-game road losing streak to the White Sox.
Off 1st Career Loss, Tanaka Out to Start New Streak
We knew it wasn't going to last forever, but it was still a bit of a shock to see Tanaka's unbeaten run come to an end against the lowly Cubs this past Tuesday. The Japanese rookie gave up more than three runs for the first time in nine MLB starts, but he did whiff seven more batters to bring his season total to 73 K's in 64 innings.
While Tanaka aims to begin a new win streak, Rienzo will be aiming to continue his perfect start to the 2014 campaign. The Brazilian began the year with three starts at Triple A before being called up to the parent club, pitched out of the ChiSox bullpen one time and has since made six consecutive winning starts for manager Robin Ventura.
He had a pair of quality assignments on Chicago's recent road trip, working into the seventh of a 4-2 Pale Hose victory in Oakland before striking out a career high eight, with six frames of 2-run baseball at Kansas City. Rienzo has held opponents to a .205 batting average in a pair of starts at home.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & Free Pick
Dan Bellino has been a streaky umpire for totals bettors this season, starting off with four 'overs' and a push in his first five plate assignments before each of his last four games calling balls and strikes failed to reach the scoreboard hurdle. The Chicago native worked a Yankees-ChiSox game last September in the Bronx that went past the number.
It should be a gorgeous day in Chicago, the weatherman calling for a game-time temp right at 70º with a light SE breeze (4-8 mph, in from center).
So what does White Sox manager Robin Ventura do today if he
has a one or two run lead in the ninth?
Will he send Belisario right back out in a save situation, or does he
rearrange his bullpen one more time? I
hate laying more than about $1.50 on any MLB game, but with Chicago's
bullpen in its current state and Tanaka on the hill for New York, today seems right for biting the
bullet and playing the chalk for my free MLB pick.
My MLB Pick: Yankees -170
Season: 45-46 (-2.2)
Yankees vs. White Sox Game 3
By: Willie Bee
One swing of Adam Dunn's bat Friday pushed both his Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees into third place of their respective divisions. The Big Donkey jacked a 2-run shot off Yankees closer David Robertson in the ninth, giving the White Sox their 8th-consecutive win at home over New York and completing a Chicago rally after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning.
Chicago's fourth win in five days brought the Pale Hose back to .500 for the first time in about two weeks, moving them up to the middle of the AL Central pack just a half-game behind the 2nd-place Twins who are in San Francisco this weekend. The Yankees are going in the opposite direction after New York dropped its fourth decision in five games to fall behind both Toronto and Baltimore in the AL East.
Joe Girardi's gang will try and stop the South Side skid Saturday (2:10 PM ET) when Vidal Nuno pairs up with Chicago's John Danks in a southpaw duel. The game is close to a pick 'em on SBR's live MLB odds, along with a 9.5 run total that favors the 'under.'
Home Runs Plaguing
ChiSox Starter Danks
If there was any good news from Nuno's last start, it was that he lasted a season-high six innings while only allowing two earned runs, and striking out five Pirates this past Sunday. Still, it ended in another Yankees defeat, the second in a row, and third in the Californian's last four trips to the mound. Saturday will be his first look at the Pale Hose.
Danks has also dropped his last two starts, most recently in Houston where the Texas native served up three long balls among the 10 hits he allowed in 4.2 innings. That's seven homers Danks has surrendered now over his last four assignments covering less than 22 frames.
He has been a better hurler at home (4.18 ERA) than on the road (6.83), so maybe a return to The Cell will provide a lift for the 8-year veteran. Then again, maybe not given his track record vs. New York. Chicago has won three of his five previous assignments vs. the Yankees, the most recent in 2011, but Danks owns a 7.10 ERA in the outings.
Umpire Notes, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
Veteran arbiter Jeff Nelson is about to don the mask for a 10th time this campaign, the previous nine splitting the totals 4-4-1 (O/U/P). Home chalk is in the red with just two wins in six tries, and his two plate assignments at US Cellular Field last season fell short of the scoreboard tally.
It's not quite going to be Bermuda shorts and tank-top weather today in Chicago, but it will be a nice afternoon for baseball as clear skies, temps reaching the mid-60s and only a light ENE zephyr (right to left) make up the forecast.
At some point, New York is going to win a game to halt the drought in this park, but I'm going to ride Chicago's streak with my free baseball pick for this one.
My Free MLB pick: White Sox +100
Season: 45-45 (-1.20)
Yankees vs. White Sox Game 2
By: Willie Bee
This time, there wasn't enough late-inning magic in the New York bats, and Game 1 of their 4-game set in Chicago went to the White Sox. The 3-2 setback dropped the Yankees out of a share of the AL East lead, and they'll look to generate some offense Friday in hopes of evening the series on the Windy City's South Side.
Hector Noesi is slated to deliver the first toss of the game at 8:10 PM (ET), and he'll do so as the underdog against New York's Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees are fetching a -130 price on the moneyline, while a 9 run total shows up on SBR's live MLB odds.
As they have in the past, New York hitters had no answers for Chris Sale in the series opener. Sale had a perfect game into the sixth before Zoilo Almonte's 2-out single ended that bid, and the Chicago lefty departed after that frame with 10 K's on his scorecard. The Yankees made it interesting in the ninth, but couldn't force extra innings as they had the previous day at Wrigley Field.
Noesi's Time In
ChiSox Rotation Could Be Short
We saw Kuroda twice last week, first in the opener of a home-&-home series with the Mets and then in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday to wrap up New York's interleague series against the Pirates. The veteran served up a pair of homers in both outings that combined for 12 innings and seven runs charged to his line, and Kuroda is 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA in three career starts at The Cell.
Originally scheduled to pitch Thursday's series opener before Sale was activated off the DL, Noesi faces the club he first came up with for the third time as a starter. The previous two came with the Mariners, one a Seattle victory that Noesi didn't figure into the decision and the other a loss in the Bronx.
Chicago is Noesi's third team this season having started the year in Seattle before being purchased by Texas and then put on waivers, where the White Sox found him less than a week after pasting him with seven runs in a 1-inning relief stint for the Rangers. The Pale Hose have dropped three of his four starts.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
DJ Reyburn has bounced between the minor and major leagues since he got his first taste of big-league umpiring in 2008, but finally appears to have a full-time job in 2014. The Grand Rapids native brings a level 4-4 O/U mark in 2014 into Friday's clash, his seventh at US Cellular Field where he owns a 3-3 mark on totals.
Another clear and cool evening is in store for fans at The Cell; first pitch should find the thermometer in the upper-50s with a slight NE breeze (in from center).
New York has been blanked the first eight innings of the past two games, but facing Noesi could be just what the doctor ordered for a slumbering offense. My free MLB pick will be on the visitors in Game 2.
My pick: Yankees -130
Season: 45-44 (+0.1)
Yankees vs. White Sox Game 1
By: Willie Bee
There won't be any frequent flyer miles distributed to New York Yankees players as they travel to the second stop on their 3-city road trip. A quick bus ride or trip on the L is all they need to get from Wrigleyville to US Cellular Field where a 4-game series with the Chicago White Sox gets underway Thursday night.
The long middle set of New York's trek gets underway at 8:10 PM (ET), David Phelps scheduled to start for the Yankees while the Pale Hose send Chris Sale to the mound. Chicago made a late switch to Sale, who is coming off the DL, and that delayed overnight MLB odds at most baseball betting shops. The White Sox should go off in the -150 to -160 range on the moneyline with the total around 7.5 or 8.
New York owns the all-time series lead (1,058-835) and is 51-48 at US Cellular Field which opened its gates opened in 1991. But it's been a while since the Yankees won a game on this diamond -- August 2011 to be exact -- as the White Sox have broomed the pinstriped posse out of Chicago each of their last two trips.
Both teams actually exchanged home sweeps last season when five of the six clashes skipped past the total, including all three on the Windy City's South Side.
Yanks Move To The
Cell Off Split
New York (24-21, -0.6 units, 20-25 O/U) finally lost a game with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, dropping the series opener against the Cubs by a 6-1 count. But the Yankees made up for that with a thrilling rally on Wednesday to earn a split in their set at Wrigley Field. Down 2-zip in the ninth, New York tied it up off current Cubs closer Hector Rondon, then beat former closer Jose Veras with two runs in the 13th.
This will be Phelps' fourth start of the month after spending April working from the bullpen with nine appearances, and he is coming off his first victory last Saturday at home against the Pirates. The righthander spun five scoreless innings, using five strikeouts to help work around five hits and the three free passes he issued.
The former Notre Dame star will be taking on the ChiSox for just the second time in his career, Phelps' only other appearance a long relief outing nearly two years ago at home when he took the loss with 3+ innings and two runs allowed, AJ Pierzynski's homer serving as the winning plate crossing in Chicago's 14-7 triumph.
ChiSox Get Sale Back, Lose Abreu
Chicago (23-25, +4.2 units, 29-18-1 O/U/P) just finished up a rather disappointing 4-5 road trip that ended with a 3-1 loss in Kansas City on Wednesday. The White Sox are happy to see Sale off the disabled list for this series, but that joy is tempered after losing slugger Jose Abreu and closer Matt Lindstrom to ankle injuries, Lindstrom not expected back until September.
Sale was shut down after four starts in April due to a sore left elbow, and his activation to start Thursday's game came earlier than many expected. He just threw a bullpen session on Tuesday after one 4-inning rehab start at Triple-A, and the projection was Sale would start the series finale on Sunday instead of the series opener.
Thursday will be his fourth career start vs. the Yanks, to go with three more relief appearances, and he has dominated the pinstripe batting order to the tune of a .140 batting average and sparkling 1.05 ERA over 25+ innings. Derek Jeter is the only New Yorker that has had much success against Sale, popping a homer and two singles in seven plate appearances.
Sunny and a bit cool is the forecast for today in Chicago, with the thermometer gradually rising for the remainder of the series. Expect the mid-50s with a light NE breeze (left to right) at the start of Game 1.
Sale is likely to be limited to 80 pitches or so tonight, and that has me shying away from a straight play on the White Sox. Instead, I'll send my free pick out on the low side of the total.
My pick: Yankees-White Sox Under 8
Season: 40-40 (-0.9)