We’ve endured a rough ride as of late, with the Nationals twice burning us with losses to Vance Worley, of all pitchers. That’s the kind of luck we’ve been dealing with, but we’ll keep it going tonight with a look at an AL East clash between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
This looks like a fairly decent spot to try to make money, as the Jays are toiling at the bottom of the division and New York still has a shot at first place. You wouldn’t know it based on their 4-6 run over their last 10 games, but the Yanks still have a nasty offense and if they can get it together, should have a good shot at either winning the AL East or at least making the playoffs.
Part of that process includes tonight’s rivalry clash with the hated Jays. Taking it to the road complicates matters a bit, but the Yanks still have a nasty lineup and will have one of their best arms on the mound for this one. Fortunately, Toronto can’t say the same.
New York Yankees (-150) @ Toronto Blue Jays (+130) Total: 9
Masahiro Tanaka (8-10, 4.93 ERA) vs. Nick Tepesch (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
Both of these teams have been very back and forth lately and New York is specifically trying to figure out how to deal with their best player (Aaron Judge) striking out at a rapid rate. With Tanaka on the mound I think it’s a little easier to have some faith in the Yanks, who are on the road but know the Jays well. Toronto escaped with a 4-2 win on Tuesday to get this series started, but they should be in trouble with Nick Tepesch being forced onto the mound tonight.
Tanaka can be up and down, but right now he’s very much up. We should take solace in the 28-year old’s recent form, as he’s given up just three runs and struck out 21 batters in his last two contests. He does get a potentially tough matchup against a lethal Jays lineup, but he’s managed just fine against them in 2017, posting a solid 3.38 ERA across 13 frames. We certainly have to worry about Toronto’s power here (9th in home runs against righties), but I think Tanaka can stabilize things enough to help the Yanks in this spot.
If you’re not sold on Tanaka, then beef up your Yankees support by betting on a Tepesch implosion. We were originally looking at a Cesar Valdez start (which would have been way more convincing) but trusting the Yankees bats against Nick Tepesch isn’t much of a stretch, either. The 28-year old righty got blasted for 7 runs (one earned) in his only appearance in the majors earlier this year, which understandably doesn’t have us too scared.
Tepesch saw modest numbers previously with the Rangers, but he still serves up a lot of hard contact and doesn’t have an encouraging K rate. More specifically, in the last two starts he’s made over the last two seasons (actually, the only two starts), he’s coughed up 12 runs on 12 hits. This is a guy who is not likely to make the Yanks miss much and when they establish contact, it could lead to ugly results.
Valdez was going to be a fun matchup to target, but in a lot of ways we’re better off going up against Tepesch. We can also bank on New York’s healthy numbers (6th in HR, 4th in batting average) against righties in general.
The strikeout issues we’re seeing with Judge are a concern, but even during his rut we’ve seen him launch a few long balls. I think he can get back into the swing of things enough to help the Yanks tie this series back up tonight, while also pushing New York closer to the top of the division. The value isn’t through the roof with a straight up pick, but I favor New York’s offense and pitching here and we can take them straight up.