Felix Hernandez renounced his claim to being the King yesterday, as his outing against the Rays yesterday afternoon was his best yet this season. There was no activity on the offensive front until the 9th inning when Nelson Cruz belted a 3 run shot to take a 3-0 lead. Now I have been there before, a 0-0 game heading into the 9th on an UNDER bet ending with a loss. So no, after the Mariners plated 3 run in the top of the 9th I was feeling a little nervous. That would have been something else to lose three games like that. Luckily the Mariners’ staff left Felix in to finish the game and pick up the complete game. If they opted for the bullpen I would have been sweating. Felix was unhittable throughout the game, allowing only 3 hits when it was all said and done. He got the Rays to go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th for a stress free winner on the UNDER. It is always nice to pick a winning pick up in the afternoon.
With no NHL playoffs tonight I just have the one MLB play here. The Ducks tried to come back from a 3-0 deficit yesterday, but the most they could manage was to get it to 3-2. If you’re not a big hockey fan and not following the NHL playoffs I recommend you check it out, it’s good stuff. We now have two game 7s as the road to the Stanley Cup Finals is down to just a couple of matchups. But back to baseball, where we handicap a matchup between the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics. The A’s just dropped a couple to the Tigers and look to get back on track tonight behind Kendall Graveman who has been an absolute pitching machine out there this season. When I refer to a pitching machine I mean one of those automatic pitching machines you can find in a hitting cage, not a machine in the sense of being a dominant pitcher. Likewise, CC Sabathia has shared a similar story the last two seasons. It wasn’t that long ago that CC was one of the best pitchers that MLB had to offer. He’s definitely lost some zip on his ball and it has shown with some lackluster showings. He does run into something in his favor in this matchup: the Athletics against lefties.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics
CC Sabathia (2-6, 5.47 ERA) vs. Kendall Graveman (2-2, 6.40 ERA)
Sabathia has really been on the downswing of his career. What is most startling is how quickly it happened. A couple of seasons ago there weren’t many signs that he was going to hit a wall. He lost some weight that was evident, but I don’t think that can explain the drop off he had last night. Tonight he enters with a 5.47 ERA going up against Kendall Graveman. The A’s are hitting only .215 against left handers, which was on display against David Price the other night, not being able to scratch across a single run.
The Yankees offense has been playing well lately, averaging around 7 runs per game in their last ten games. The pitcher they’re facing today, Graveman, may rather be pitching at Yankee Stadium tonight than at home. Home hasn’t been so kind to him, as he has gotten hit for an ERA of 14.62, including a 2.25 WHIP and .465 OBP. Overall his WHIP is currently at 1.70 with a .393 OBP. His only solid start came in his last outing against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that couldn’t hit a little league team at the moment. I expect Graveman to get back doing what he is good at tonight, which is allowing a bunch of runs. This is a big game for Sabathia. If he gets hit by the A’s who have had no use for lefties, I won’t know what to make of CC anymore. I do think he pitches well enough tonight though to give the Yanks’ offense a solid chance against Graveman. I won’t be doing this many more times in the future, but give me Sabathia.
PICK: YANKEES TO WIN -113