Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 7:00 PM
If you’ve only been casually glancing at the Major League Baseball standings each day, you may think that the Yankees are off to a great start while the Mariners have been a big disappointment. But, that’s an illusion of divisional alignment. The Yanks have been at or near the top of a very mediocre AL East this season…while the Mariners have been well behind the hot starting Houston Astros.
If you look at the full AL from top to bottom…there’s not much separating the Yanks and Mariners. Heck, if you flip schedules...you might flip won-lost records. New York has struggled against teams from the West this season.
What’s fascinating about the three-game series between the Yanks and Mariners that begins Monday Night is that we could easily be seeing a potential playoff preview…or we could be seeing a battle of disappointments head to 76-86 type seasons. It’s too early to know for sure…and the statistical indicators are far from clear.
Let’s run some of those numbers…
NY Yankees: 4.56 runs per game, .315 on-base, .413 slugging
Seattle: 3.73 runs per game, .298 on-base, .403 slugging
New York has been a very pleasant surprise with the bats. Many statheads thought it was going to be a disastrous offensive season. Instead, the Yanks are near league average in getting runners on base, and above-average in slugging. Some good fortune has increased their raw scoring volume a bit. But, this is a decent offense instead of a doormat. Seattle usually has doormat stats offensively because they play their home games in a great pitcher’s park. If you adjust for that…much of the distance between them and the Yanks disappears. On a neutral field…the Yanks would have a slight edge. In Seattle…that slight edge would likely manifest itself in lower scoring games.
Michael Pineda: 3.36 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.4 K-Rate, 6.4 IP-per-Start
Felix Hernandez: 1.91 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9.0 K-Rate 7.0 IP-per-Start
The Yanks are 7-3 in Pineda’s starts, so they have a chance to hang tough with King Felix in this series opening pitcher’s duel. Edge to Hernandez…but it’s possible that only adds up to a 0-0 or 1-1 tie through seven innings if the Mariners can’t bring those few extra baserunners around to score. You definitely want to look at the Under here. Slight travel disadvantage for the Yanks who played in Oakland Sunday.
C. C. Sabathia: 5.67 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 7.6 K-Rate 6.0 IP-per-Start
Sabathia is doing nothing to quell concerns that he’s washed up. He’s been in the rotation all season, but only has four quality starts in his 10 outings. He’ll be helped by the ballpark here. It’s uncertain as of press time who he’ll be facing. That gives the Yanks a chance to outscore their opponents. But, longterm…it’s very hard to see the Yankees winning this division if Sabathia can only post scrub numbers. Remember, this is a LOW scoring year in the sport.
Masahiro Tanaka: 3.22 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 9.7 K-Rate 5.6 IP-per-Start
Tajuan Walker: 6.18 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 8.3 K-Rate 5.1 IP-per-Start
Tanaka hasn’t pitched in the Majors since April 23. The Yanks are hopeful he can return to productive form…though he gave up three runs in three innings in his most recent Triple-A rehab start. He will be limited to 80 pitches…which means Yankees backers could lose in the bullpen even if Tanaka is sharp. Definitely worth thinking about the Over given Walker’s awful numbers this season. Imagine if he didn’t get to pitch his home games in Seattle! Note that this is a day game…but it won’t have your classic get-away distractions. Seattle stays at home for a series with Tampa Bay. The Yankees have Thursday off before wrapping up their West Coast swing in Anaheim against the LA Angels.
This is a pitcher’s park…but we could have some offensive fireworks Tuesday and Wednesday given those pitching stats!
JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big side or total release in this series. You can purchase the final word for all Monday action right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to check on combination packages that include this Saturday’s BELMONT STAKES!
Another busy week here in the NOTEBOOK. We’ll run our NBA Championship Series preview on Wednesday to give you a head start on what’s become a much-anticipated showdown between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. Before that…an MLB series preview featuring the current market favorites to win the American League…
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Wednesday: NBA Championship Preview…Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
Thursday: MLB Series Preview St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Friday: MLB Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees
Saturday: NBA Early Look for Sunday’s Game Two of Cavaliers/Warriors
Welcome to June! The summer’s going to SIZZLE with RED HOT WINNERS from WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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