Toronto Blue Jays (+125) at New York Yankees (-135, 7 o/u)
The New York Yankees (0-1) didn’t start the season as expected, with ace Masahiro Tanaka looking suspect in a 6–1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays (1-0). The Pinstripers will look for their first win of the year when they host the Jays in the second of their three-game set tonight at Yankee Stadium (7:05 PM Eastern).
Right-hander Michael Pineda (5-5, 1.89 ERA in 2014) will be on the mound for the Yankees tonight, while the Jays will counter with knuckleballer and 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey (14-13, 3.71 ERA in 2014).
Tanaka allowed five hits and five runs in 4.1 innings on Monday. He threw mostly off-speed pitches, leading some to question whether the ostensible star of the Yankees’ rotation is suffering from an injury.
New York manager Joe Girardi was quick to dispel any rumors, though.
“That’s kind of how he pitches,” said Girardi. “That’s how he had success last year. He’s not a guy who’s going to blow people away with his fastball.”
The Jays will face a decidedly different pitcher tonight in Pineda. The flamethrower pitched better in 2014 than his 5-5 record suggests. However, two of his five losses came at the hands of Toronto with the righty giving up 12 hits in 12 innings of work. Pineda did manage to go 3-1 at home last season, though, posting a 1.59 ERA.
R.A Dickey, meanwhile, hasn’t been the lights-out pitcher Toronto was hoping for when they signed him in 2013, but he looked under control in Spring Training this year, giving up just one walk over 12 innings. He’s also been solid against the Yankees since moving to the A.L. In 2014, Dickey went 1-0 in two starts, giving up just two earned runs in 12.2 innings.
Edwin Encarnacion and Devon Travis both hit their first homers of the season on Monday. The Jays will inevitably be hoping that the longballs keep coming tonight and boast a batting order replete with deep threats (including Jose Bautista, Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson hitting in the three through five spots, respectively).
On the other hand, the Yankees will be looking for the heart of their order to come to life. Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann went just 1/10, combined, in game one of the series. Alex Rodriguez went 1/2 in his return from a yearlong suspension.
In the trends, Toronto has won two of the last three against New York dating back to last season, and the last two games have stayed under the game total. There’s reason to think both starting pitchers will be solid in their first starts of the year. Look for this one to stay under (7) as well.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (originally posted to Flickr as AAAA8732) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)