BOMBERS LOOK TO END ONE STREAK, MAINTAIN ANOTHER
Your 16-9 New York Yankees are holding down the American League East by mere percentage points over the 19-11 Tampa Rays (.640 to .633) — thanks in great part to our new BFFs from Buffalo (Toronto, technically) who accomplished what the mighty Bronx Bombers could not : win one, let alone two games at Tropicana Field over the weekend. The idle Yankees just sat there and backed into first.
After a 4-day vacation, the Yankees will defend that position starting with tonight’s opener of a 2-game set in Atlanta.
DRAFTKINGS CONTEST : Lineup tips and player salaries are for the MLB $5K Quarter Jukebox, a 10-game ‘Classic’ rules contest starting at 7:10pm EST, 4:10pm Pacific Time.
THE WISE GUYS : The oddsmakers have New York favored with a moneyline consensus of -200, and +170 for Atlanta. The Over/Under is 8.5. At this writing, late dineros are coming in on the Braves.
THE BALLPARK : Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia is considered a hitter-friendly joint. With a high humidity mark (88%), and mistakes could be flying out of the place tonight.
WEATHER : Temperature at game-time is expected to be 78° (humidity 88%) under partly cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms. Winds ENE at 6mph (or blowing in from right field), and a 35% chance of wet stuff, which decreases as the evening progresses. The state of Georgia looks like it will largely be spared the wrath of Tropical Storm Laura.
MATCHUP NOTES : Behind ace Gerrit Cole ($10,600) the Yankees will be looking for their 9th straight road win in Atlanta, while snapping their current 3-game skid, longest of the season. Over his 6 starts in 2020, three have come on the road, where Cole is 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA and 22 Ks in 16.1 innings.
Cole may want to pay extra attention to C Travis d’Arnaud ($3,900) who is 4-4 with a home run against him. 1B Freddie Freeman ($5,400) is 5-14 (.357) with a homer, and OF Ender Inciarte (a crazy value at $2,700) is 6-17 (.438) against Cole. The rest of the Braves current roster offer much smaller sample sizes, but overall the club is hitting Cole at a .388 BA clip with a 1.107 OPS.
The National League East first place Atlanta Braves are coming off a weekend series win over the Joe Girardi’s Phillies, although their rotation is hurting right now. Atlanta has just called up top prospect Ian Anderson ($8,100), a right-hander who was the third overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. This will be Anderson’s major league debut.
Anderson is fortunate he’ll be facing a New York lineup that is significantly weakened with Judge, Stanton, LeMaheiu, Torres and Higashioka on the Injured List. The Yankees bullpen has also seen better days, with Tommy Kahnle done for the season, and the recent loss of Zack Britton (10-day IL but a hamstring will surely take a lot longer to mend). Manager Aaron Boone has his work cut out spreading out the workload between the guys still standing.
PREDICTION : This is a tough one to call. The Yankees are definitely limping into Atlanta, a squad that’s going in the wrong direction. But they are still a dangerous team. Last season’s ‘next man up’ battle cry was no fluke, and you can feel it coming on again. Sanchez, Voit, Frazier, Hicks and Gardy are guys you go to sleep on at your own peril. Voit and Frazier have been swinging good bats, and the rest can break out at any monent.
We’re feeling Cole will dig deep and both give his ‘pen a break, and allow the bats a chance to win it. 5-2 Yankees, and a much needed ‘W’.
Today in Yankees History
On August 25, 1956, the Yankees released ‘The Scooter’, shortstop Phil Rizzuto after 13 years of service that featured 7 World Championship titles — including the run of 5 straight from 1949 to 1953. In 1950, Rizzuto won the American League MVP, playing an almost flawless shortstop and hitting .324 with 200 hits and 66 RBI.
A five-time All-Star and Hall of Famer, after retirement The Scooter became a beloved broadcaster for the Yankees, a position he would hold for over 40 years. He passed away on August 13, 2007. RIP Scooter.