Braves at Yankees – Free Pick for June 19th

Atlanta Braves +129 vs. New York Yankees -137 (Total: 8.5)

Tim Hudson (4-3, 3.90 ERA) vs. Hideki Kuroda (6-6, 3.43 ERA)

No team in major league baseball is hotter than the New York Yankees, nor has anyone been the entire season.  With ten straight wins, the Yankees are dominating the league in their typical anti-Moneyball fashion, steamrolling through the vaunted National League East with each of their ten wins coming against a team with a winning record.  So you’d think they’d be the talk of the Big Apple…

Instead?  The city and the sporting world sits in awe (and bemusement) of a 37-year old knuckleballer across the city in the Queens named R.A. Dickey.  Dickey threw his second consecutive one-hitter last night, becoming the first pitcher to accomplish the feat since Dave Stieb in 1988 did so for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Let’s play a quick game:  Tim Linceum, Roy Halliday, Chris Carpenter, Zach Greinke and R.A. Dickey… only ONE of them will be an All-Star this year for the National League.  If you had placed a wager (not that such a wager existed…) on it being the 37-year old journeyman knuckleballer, you’d be a very rich person right now…

OK, back to the Yanks.  If a ten-game win streak can be “quiet” than I suppose this would fit this bill.  A win tonight would equal the Yankees largest win streak since 1985.  They haven’t had a streak longer than eleven games since 1965.

SO the odds of them continuing much longer on this tear are certainly not great, but I prefer not to be spooked by largely irrelevant anomalies and to evaluate each game on its own merit.   And on the merit of tonight’s pitching matchup, I think the Bronx Bombers have a shot to keep it going.

Kuroda has been solid this season, but exceptional in his last few outings.  In his three most recent starts he is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.05.  He has had good velocity and excellent command around the strike zone.  Hudson has also been solid this year, with an ERA hovering just under 4.00, but doesn’t face many lineups like New York’s in the light-hitting, pitching-heavy NL East.

I think the Yankee bats continue to roll at home tonight, with Cano and Texieria continuing to heat up and Curtis Granderson continuing on the of the quietest MVP campaigns I can remember (Josh Hamilton’s hot start is WAY in the rear-view mirror folks, Granderson, despite the .254 batting average is making a charge at the MVP front-runner.  Seriously.)

I like the Yankees and their crazy momentum tonight at Yankee Stadium.  Make it eleven straight and let the hype-machine start to get really warm in the Bronx.

Free Pick:  New York Yankees to WIN -137