Yankees vs. Astros Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
After a poor season offensively last year New York signed Ellsbury, Beltran and McCann, who with a healthy Jeter and Teixeira were supposed to reinvigorate the Yankees' attack.
So far, through two games this season, New York has scored a total of three runs.
Wednesday night the Yankees lost to Houston 3-1, getting a decent outing from starter Hiroki Kuroda but nuthin' in the way of any sustained offensive threat. Astros starter Jarred Cosart made the Yanks look bad, with a good curve ball and some well-timed and well-placed fastballs. And even after Cosart left after 88 pitches New York managed to scratch out just one run against what was the worst bullpen in baseball last year.
The Yanks went down as -155 favorites Wednesday, and the game played UNDER its total of 8.5.
So New York will try to avoid getting swept by last year's worst team when the squads meet for the finale of this series Thursday night (8:10 pm ET).
As of early Thursday AM most shops were chalking New York and Ivan Nova at right around -140 over Houston and Brett Oberholtzer, with a total of eight.
Also, the Yanks could be gotten at around +120 on the run line.
Lefty Oberholtzer went 4-5 with a 2.76 ERA as a rookie last year. Out of 10 starts he made six of them “quality,” allowing 66 hits in 72 innings, walking 13 and whiffing 45. Houston went 5-5 in Oberholtzer's starts, which is great considering the team only won 51 games all year. And three of the losses came by a score of 2-1, another by 3-2.
Oberholtzer started once against New York last year, allowing two ER and five hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 3-2 Houston loss in September.
Ivan Nova went 9-6/3.10 last year, missing a month with a sore arm. He came up with 12 quality starts out of 20 outings, allowed 135 hits in 139 innings, walked 44 and struck out 116. It was a big improvement from his 12-8/5.02 campaign of 2012.
The Yankees went 12-8 in Nova's starts last year.
This will be Nova's first-ever start against Houston.
Houston has already won this series as a +200 home dog, so Thursday's game is just gravy to the Astros. The Yanks, meanwhile, have looked absolutely inept at the plate. Can they avoid the embarrassment of a sweep? We're not sure. So instead of going with a side, we'll look toward the total for our free MLB pick on Thursday's game, and go with the UNDER eight runs (+105) offered at 5Dimes.
Yankees vs. Astros Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
Houston jumped on CC Sabathia for six runs in the first two innings Tuesday night and held on for a 6-2 victory in the season opener for both teams. The Yanks went down as favorites of -140, while the game stayed UNDER its total of 8.5 runs.
New York will try to avoid losing a second-straight game to a team that went 51-111 last year when the teams meet for Game 2 of this series Wednesday night (8:10 pm ET).
Early Wednesday morning we found New York and Hiroki Kuroda at -148 at several MLB betting shops, while Houston with Jarred Cosart could be gotten at +143 at 5Dimes.
The Yanks could also be found at around +110 on the run line.
And the total on Wednesday's game sat at 8.5.
Cosart went 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA as a rookie last year, going, by our tough standards, six-for-10 on quality starts. The Texas native allowed just 46 hits in 60 innings last year, including just three homers, but he also walked more guys, 35, than he struck out, 33. Houston went 4-6 in Cosart's outings, which considering how lousy the Astros were, ain't too bad.
This will be Cosart's first-ever start vs. the Yankees.
Despite a September swoon Kuroda was New York's best starting pitcher last year. His record was only 11-13 but his ERA was 3.31, he gave up fewer hits, 191, than innings pitched, 201, and he struck out 150, against 43 walks. Kuroda went 17-for-32 on quality starts, but New York could only manage to go 16-16 in his trips to the mound, in part because of some poor run support.
Hiroki Kuroda started once against Houston last year, throwing seven innings of scoreless ball, picking up the win in a 7-4 Yankees victory at the Stadium in April.
Free Pick for
We look at the lineups in this match-up, and it's no comparison. And we give Kuroda the edge in the pitching match-up. So we like New York to bounce back Wednesday night. And since we like to gamble a little we'll go with the Yankees on the run line, getting +113 at 5Dimes, for our free MLB pick for Wednesday.
Yankees vs. Astros Game 1
By: Ron Patrick
The New York Yankees missed the playoffs last year, then brought out the big bucks over the off-season to try and remedy the situation. We'll get a taste of what the Yanks might be when they open this MLB season with three games against the Astros in Houston, starting Tuesday night (7:10 pm ET).
Most books we consulted opened this game with New York and CC Sabathia favored by around -150 over Houston and newcomer Scott Feldman, with a total of 8.5. Many of those books then also bumped the Yankees to the -160 area in the early betting.
New York could also be gotten at around +110 on the run line at various shops.
The Greek is chalking the Yanks at -240 to win this series, with home-dog Houston getting +200.
Since finishing 85-77 last year New York has parted ways with, among others, 2B Robinson Cano, closer Mariano Rivera and OF Curtis Granderson, but added OFs Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, C Brian McCann and SP Masahiro Tanaka.
So heading into this season the Yanks are getting right around 5/2 to win the AL East, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 87.
On the other side of this match-up Houston won 51 games last year, ending the season on a 15-game losing streak. The rebuilding Astros are trying to put together a young core of talent with which to grow with, and they've got some of the pieces in place. But Houston won't contend for anything this year; just getting back to “competitive” status would be an achievement.
The Astros added former Rockies OF Dexter Fowler to their mix, with hope that he can bounce back after regressing in production last year. They also brought in a couple other vets to fill in around the edges. But this is a team that will be built from within.
Houston is getting upwards of 90/1 to win the AL West this season, and will play against a wins total of 62.5.
Sabathia is looking to bounce back after posting a 4.78 ERA last year, the highest of his career. He also allowed more hits than innings pitched for the first time ever, his walks were up and his strikeouts were down. By our strict standards CC went 16-for-32 on quality starts last season.
Sabathia has no recent record vs. Houston.
Feldman went 12-12 last year with a 3.86 ERA, splitting the season between Baltimore and the Cubs. He gave up 159 hits through 182 innings, walked 56 and struck out 132.
By our strict standards Feldman went 15-for-30 on quality starts last year.
Feldman started twice against the Yankees last year, allowing four ER and nine hits in 14 2/3 innings; his Orioles lost those two games by scores of 2-0 and 5-4.
New York went 17-15 in Sabathia's starts last year, while the Cubs and Orioles combined to go 15-15 in Feldman's starts.
Last year New York, sending a mostly make-shift lineup to the plate most of the season, ranked 16th in scoring at 4.0 runs per game, just 23rd in team OBP at .307 and 22nd in homers with 144. But with a healthy order that could go Ellsbury-Jeter-Beltran-Soriano-Teixeira-McCann the Yankees would surely make big improvements in those numbers this season.
Houston ranked 26th in scoring last year at 3.8 RPG, 29th in team OBP at a dismal .299 and 19th in homers with 148. The Astros also made ignominious history last year, setting a new ML record by striking out 1,530 times. That's 1,530 totally meaningless outs, and an incredible failure to move runners along.
Battle of the
New York's bullpen ranked 20th last year with a 3.66 ERA, while converting 49-of-62 save opportunities. But without Rivera, who's now retired, the New York bullpen's ERA was 3.89, and just five-for-11 in save opps.
Houston, quite simply, owned the worst bullpen in baseball last year. Astros relievers ranked dead last in ERA at 4.98 and blew 29 of 61 save chances – almost half. And there's no guarantee this unit will be any better this year.
These teams met for two series last year, with New York taking five of six games. Also, the three games played at Yankee Stadium all went OVER the totals, while the three games played at Minute Maid Park all stayed UNDER the totals.
There will be spots to back Houston this season, especially considering it will be a betting dog all year long, but not tonight. It may seem a bit obvious, but we like New York to take this series opener. And since we like to gamble we'll take the Yanks on the run line, at the +111 offered at Pinnacle, for our free MLB pick.
We'll update the pitching match-ups throughout this series, with more free picks to come.