Are you kidding me with these 2018 Yankees? They may not have the best record in baseball, yet, or be the most profitable team, but they’re sizzling hot right now winning 15 of 16 through Sunday, and it’s in that Sunday game where it all clicked in my mind that the Yankees are the team to beat.
Fresh off of winning three straight at the World Champion Astros, who disposed of the Yankees in the ALCS last season, the Yankees went home over the weekend to face the Indians, the team they beat in the ALDS last season. New York kept its hot roll going with a sweep, but Sunday’s game stood out just because they won in what is becoming the typical Yankees way in 2018.
First off, this game was a dead Under (9) with both starters being masterful. Mike Clevinger allowed only one hit before being taken out in the eighth inning and Domingo German came out of the bullpen to make his first career start and threw six scoreless no-hit innings before being relieved.
After seven, the score was 0-0. Cleveland puts four on the board in the top of the eighth, but the Yankees come up with three runs in the bottom of the eighth off closer Cody Allen. Nothing in the top of the ninth for the Tribe – they went quietly 1-2-3, and they let Allen try to close it out. He couldn’t. He gave up a double and then another one. Tie game, 4-4. The Indians changed relievers, and Dan Otero got one out, but then intentionally walked pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton in favor of facing No. 9 hitter, 21-year-old second-baseman Gleyber Torres who had hit his first career home run on Friday against the Indians.
Torres worked the count full like a veteran and promptly took the 3-2 offering from Otero and drove it 415 feet to center field for his second career home run and a 7-4 victory. Again the Yankees paid on the run-line and the game went Over the total. They’re the highest scoring team in baseball (5.8 per game) and are 20-13-1 (60.6%) to the Over, second only to Seattle (21-12).
Beyond watching what the Yankees seem to do regularly the past two weeks, I think the symbolism of another home-grown Yankee prospect contributing a big role gave me flashbacks to Buck Showalter’s Yankees – the team Joe Torre stole – when they had a young nucleus of Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. They were all home-grown and a pivotal part of the team that made the playoffs 17 of 18 seasons, which included five World Series Championships.
More symbolism: Torres’ walk-off homer made him the youngest Yankee to ever do so. The previous youngest was Mickey Mantle in 1953. This team is absolutely loaded with talent and it’s all coming together in right now.
The Westgate SuperBook opened the Yankees at 8-to-1 to win the World Series and have dropped them down to 6-1 with the Astros being the 5-1 favorite and the Red Sox, holders of MLB best record (25-9), at 7-1 along with the Cubs and Indians.
The Yankees have their six-game win streak on the line when Boston visits Tuesday for the start of a three-game series. They met April 10-12 with the Red Sox taking 2-of-3 and things got heated in a juicy brawl that led me to believe the rivalry has some fire again. They hate each other, which is going to be a great storyline all season as these two battle for the AL East.
How about a fun over-under for batters hit-by-pitch, both teams combined, in this series? How about 5.5? Anyway, the Yankees send their best out there with Luis Severino (5-1), Masahiro Tanaka (4-2) and a rejuvenated C.C. Sabathia (2-0). They’ll miss Chris Sale and will face Drew Pomeranz on Tuesday followed by David Price (2-4) and Rick Porcello (5-0).
Because of not facing Sale and the Yankees playing like the 1927 team, let’s call them a -170 favorite to win the series.
Super snakes: The Dodgers still have a losing record (15-19) and Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 10-day disabled list over the weekend. They now trail the Diamondbacks by eight games. Last season, the furthest the Dodgers ever got behind in the NL West was five games and that was on April 24. They’re in trouble and Arizona (23-11) is better as are the Giants (19-15) who have won seven of their last eight, including a sweep at first-place Atlanta. San Francisco won all three as underdogs to start a 10 game road trip.
Arizona is the best story in the NL, especially for bettors who have netted an MLB-high +14.8 units if betting them every game. They’re 12-to-1 to win the World Series –down from 20-1. With no other team stepping up, Arizona looks nice at least in May. I’m certain the Cubs (16-15) and Nationals (18-17) will eventually come around, but how can we suggest the D’Backs will eventually fail when we’ve yet to see them lose a series, going 10-0-1 and taking 2-of-3 from the Astros. The last win paid +180 by beating Justin Verlander on Sunday. That series featured the two lowest team ERAs in baseball with the Astros at 2.68 and the D’Backs at 3.05.