New York is now 3-1 on this 10-game road trip after last night's 6-2 thumping of the Rangers and the MLB odds have seen them flipped from underdogs to road favorites, at least for now.
Tonight two scuffling left-handers will start and those making MLB picks are in a quandary as baseball handicappers what to make of the sportsbooks betting odds, not sure how either pitcher will perform.
Here is what to look for in Game 2 of this four-game series in this tussle.
Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 40th birthday in style with a home run, becoming the fourth player in baseball history to nail a long ball in his 40's and when still a teenager. A-Rod is in a power groove with five homers the last week, giving him 24, nine coming against lefties like tonight's Texas starter. (More on him below)
Besides Rodriguez, Didi Gregorius has taken a liking to Rangers pitching and is 11 for 31 with four homers and 11 RBI's.
Manager Joe Girardi has decided to spot start Chris Capuano to give Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda extra days rest and while he would never say it, the Yanks skipper knows this is a 50-50 contest based on his decision.
Texas lost for the 11th time in 12 tries at Global Life Park and need some pitching help. With the worst home record in baseball at 16-27 (-11.2 units), the Rangers are allowing 5.1 runs per game at home compared to 4.3 RPG on the road, which explains their huge home/away dichotomy.
It would seem unlikely Martin Perez will provide a quality start for Texas and he's backed up by a bullpen which is last in the AL with a 4.55 ERA. The Rangers offense led by Prince Fielder better hit tonight or they will fall again.
Capuano vs. Perez
As I have stated before, keeping pitchers like Chris Capuano (0-4, 5.64 ERA) employed makes little sense if you have a playoff quality team like New York. Girardi gave him three starts in May when he came off the DL and the Yankees needed innings burner and he was a deplorable 0-3 with a 6.39 earned run average. Since returning to bullpen the results have been negligibly better with 5.09 ERA. If he was right-handed, Capuano would have been gone long ago. He's started against Texas twice, back in May and in 2007 and is 0-2 with 8.64 ERA.
Martin Perez (0-1, 4.91) has made two starts since coming off the DL and neither has been that great. He's allowed 15 hits in 11 innings and is upside down on strikeouts to walks ratio with four and six respectively. The lefthander is yet another Tommy John victim and while still only 24, the velocity and bite of pitches have not been seen since 2013. He has never started against the Yankees.
Betting Odds and Outcome
Most sportsbooks including Heritagesports had Texas a -115 favorite on the overnight line, but this morning they moved New York to a favorite, anywhere from -106 to -110. Because the starting pitchers are largely wallowing in mediocrity, the Yankees decided bullpen edge could be the difference and they are 23-9 when this group has an ERA under 3.00 the last 10 games this season.
With the Rangers significantly weaker pitching, they have to hit, but are only 4-16 at home after batting .250 or worse over a 20-game span this season. When it comes to placing sports picks, the Bronx Bombers sure look like the right choice and I believe I have a very good chance to move to 7-1 in last eight game previews and MLB picks.
MLB Pick - New York -108 at Heritage