While the NFL draft is going on, MLB is still heating up early in the season. The Yanks are back out in front, and both sets of Sox are stinking up the joint. Let’s preview a few games worth betting on.
Thursday: Yankees at A’s: The Yankees have Sabathia going up against Braden for Oakland, who’s holding his own so far this season with a 2.7 ERA and a 2-0 record. Also impressive stats for Dallas Braden are 16Ks through 3 starts and a sure-to-increase-but-nice-while-it-lasts WHIP of 0.75. Sabathia has literally nearly identical stats so far, so this one should be a fun pitcher’s duel in a game featuring two first-place clubs. And while the A’s are doing it mostly with pitching, the Yankees are handling themselves well on both sides of the ball. Looks early like they’ll be there all year – again. Braden’s a lefty, and the Yanks have 5 true lefties in their starting lineup, with a couple switch-hitters, too. Yanks will be favored slightly as the road team, -120 to +135 A’s. And despite Oakland’s nice pitching matchup, I think the pressure of playing the Yanks, even this early, will weigh on Braden. Yanks win.
Thursday: Dodgers at Cincinnati: Over in the other league, underachieving Los Angeles travels to Ohio to take on the Red, also underachieving albeit on a much quieter level (anytime you don’t have Manny on your team, you can skate by early in the season with a sub-.500 record). What is it with these “power” clubs this year? Aside from the Yanks and Cardinals, they’re all struggling. Padilla goes for the Dodgers against Leake for the Reds. Padilla needs a quality start to attack his ridiculous 8 ERA, while Leake needs a decision to go along with his 2.7 ERA. Which one will prevail in this contest? Well, until LA can compliment their .300 team average (2nd in the NL) with some consistent pitching, it’s going to continue to be a .500 season. Some days the hitting will be enough, other days it won’t. I say come Thursday, on the road, against an impressive Leake, it won’t.