MLB Picks: Reds at Yankees Series Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/17/2012
Interleague play returns to Major League Baseball this weekend and there were several good series to choose from: Red Sox-Phillies, Braves-Rays, Orioles-Nationals, not to mention the battle for Chicago and the San Francisco Bay area. But I had to go with the Cincinnati Reds-New York Yankees three-game set in the Bronx.
First off, these two clubs were both favored to win their respective divisions and still might as both are in second place. And this might show my age, but my first thought of Reds-Yankees is the 1976 World Series. Cincinnati swept the Yankees that year in what turned out to be the final Fall Classic for Sparky Anderson’s Big Red Machine. The Yanks turned around and beat the Dodgers in the next two World Series.
With the rotating divisions in interleague play, it’s odd for two teams who aren’t natural rivals to play in back-to-back years, but that is the case here. Last June in Cincinnati the Yankees took two of three games. The Reds only have the Yankees from the AL East, and after that it's two meetings against the regional rival Indians plus home series vs. the Tigers and Twins. The last time Cincinnati visited the Bronx was 2008.
When the Yankees and Reds met in a 2003 interleague series in Ohio, it was very notable for one reason. Before the start of that series, Yanks Owner George Steinbrenner made a surprising decision to appoint Derek Jeter as team captain. The title had been vacant since Don Mattingly retired in 1995. It was rather odd that Steinbrenner, who wasn’t even in Cincinnati but called the team there, chose to do that on the road. The decision worked out pretty well, however.
Reds at Yankees Betting Story Lines
Don’t worry about the Reds being travel-weary as they just finished a series at the Mets on Thursday. This apparently will be only the seventh time that a team played back-to-back series in the same market since interleague play started – obviously there are only five shared markets: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Baltimore/Washington. The Texas Rangers will become the eighth team next month when they play at Oakland and San Francisco back-to-back.
New York has been the king of interleague play. The Yankees tied the Angels last year with the best overall interleague record at 13-5 and New York owns the best all-time mark at 157-107 (.595), just ahead of the Chicago White Sox at 154-111 (.581). Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had 12 RBI during interleague play a year ago to up his all-time high RBI total to 198. Jeter holds the all-time interleague hits mark with 326.
The Reds were 6-12 a year ago against the AL and are 97-123 all-time, the second-worst mark in baseball behind the Pittsburgh Pirates (81-130).
The Yankees are down to their third closer already this season. At one point, it could be argued that New York had the best 1-2 punch at the end of games with Mariano Rivera and set-up man David Robertson. Of course, Rivera was lost May 3 to a torn ACL that likely will cost him the season. And then Robertson was placed on the DL Tuesday with a strained left oblique.
That leaves Rafael Soriano as the closer for now. Entering Thursday’s game at Toronto, Soriano was 2-0 with two saves and a 2.57 ERA in 14 appearances. Robertson had never closed before while Soriano led the majors with 45 saves for Tampa Bay in 2010, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps the job if he pitches well for the two weeks or so Robertson is out. By the way, the Yanks’ Rivera leads MLB in interleague saves by a wide margin with 75.
Since the Reds will be able to add the designated hitter this weekend, look for them to put struggling outfielder Ryan Ludwick there for at least two of the three games, according to Manager Dusty Baker. Ludwick entered Thursday batting .177 with t 25 strikeouts in 79 at-bats. He was 3-for-29 (.103) in his previous 10 games. Sometimes just focusing on hitting and not worrying about fielding can snap a player out of his slump.
Cincinnati remains without third baseman Scott Rolen, who has been on the DL since May 12. That’s too bad because Rolen has 42 homers and 143 RBI (both Top 10 in MLB) in 211 interleague games (some as an American Leaguer).
Reds at Yankees Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo (2-1, 3.25) vs. Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte (0-1, 5.68) – Arroyo is one of those guys who alternates good and bad starts. So that could be a good thing for Friday as last time out he allowed 11 hits and four runs in five innings against the Nationals. Pettitte’s first start since the 2010 ALDS wasn’t great in his season debut, as he allowed four runs on seven hits in a loss to light-hitting Seattle (the only Mariners’ win in that series).
Saturday: Reds RHP Homer Bailey (1-3, 4.35) vs. Yankees RHP Ivan Nova (4-1, 5.44) – Bailey bounced back from a horrendous start with 6.2 innings of one-run ball in a no-decision at Atlanta last time out. He remains winless since April 20. Nova’s start is in some jeopardy. He left in the sixth inning of his last start vs. Baltimore when he sprained his right ankle while jumping off the mound to field a high come-backer. David Phelps (1-1, 2.96) would likely replace Nova.
Sunday: Reds RHP Johnny Cueto (4-1, 1.89) vs. Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (5-1, 3.77) – Cueto has been one of the NL’s best pitchers but had his worst start of the season Tuesday against the Braves, allowing six runs on eight hits over four innings. Sabathia took the loss Tuesday against Baltimore, allowing four runs over six innings. But the big lefty is a much better pitcher at home, where he is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA.
Reds at Yankees Betting Odds and Trends
New York will open around -175 on the series line with Cincinnati approximately at +145. For Game 1, the Yanks are -130 with the Reds at +110, according to MLB odds. The total is at 9.5.
The Yanks are 11-8 at home this season and the Reds are 11-9 on the road. New York is 8-11 on the ‘over/under’ at home, while Reds are 8-11-1 O/U on road. Cincinnati is 4-1 in its past five openers of a series. Cincy is 5-2 in Arroyo’s past seven road starts. The Reds are 6-13 in their past 19 interleague games. The Yankees are 5-0 in their past five Friday games and 7-1 in Pettitte’s past eight interleague starts. The under is 5-0 in New York’s past five interleague games. The under is 8-2 in the Yanks’ past 10 home games overall.
MLB Picks: Reds at Yankees Series Betting Predictions
You may want to bet the opposite of what I recommend here as it’s been a rough run on the series line of late, although still solid on the opening games. I don’t really trust either Arroyo or Pettitte in Game 1, but you simply have to go New York because of its lineup and that it’s at home. Love the over there. As for the series, I am trying to find two games the Reds legitimately could win and I honestly can’t. I expect Sabathia to win Game 3 and can’t see Cincy taking both Game 1 (if they pull the upset there) and 2. So Yanks on the series it is.
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