The New York Yankees take on the Philadelphia Phillies in game one of their two-game series on Saturday afternoon from Citizens Bank Park. This weekend's series is the first time the two teams have met this season after meeting four times last year, splitting the season series two games each. The Yankees haven't started June very well, going 4-6 over their last ten games and continue to lose pace with Boston and Tampa Bay in the AL East race. For the Phillies, they've jumped ahead of the Braves in NL East but still sit 3.5 games behind the Mets. They've gone 5-5 in their last ten games but getting a home win against the Yankees will be a tall task. Which team will get the win and set the tone for Sunday's series finale?
Yankees Trying To Keep Pace In AL EastThe Yankees come in having struggled in June to keep up with the Rays and Red Sox atop the AL East, but a weekend set with the Phillies might just be right what the doctor ordered. Injuries have hampered the team over the opening months of the season, but now that everything starts to line up and players are coming off the IL, it seems like the Yankees offense might finally come alive. Luke Voit remains out with his oblique strain, but that remains the only massive miss in the lineup. Aaron Hicks is on the 60-day IL with a wrist injury but based on his slow start to the season, it's not a massive miss for the team. The only other position player on the IL is Ryan LaMarre with a hamstring injury, but he won't be missed much either in the lineup. The big return has been Giancarlo Stanton, whose power in the lineup has given need protection to Aaron Judge in the lineup.
For New York, it's been all Judge leading the way but he's in desperate need of support if the Yankees want to see their offense improve. Judge leads the team in hitting (.291), home runs (15), RBI (35), OBP (.392), and hits (62). Stanton though is right behind him though with 12 home runs and 32 RBI and if both of them can stay healthy, the offense will be dangerous. Over the last week though the offense has been humming even with the wins not necessarily coming. Six Yankees are hitting .300 or higher in the last week and Judge's two home runs and Stanton's three home runs show the improvement heading into Saturday. If they can swing the big bats and the supporting cast can continue to get on base, the wins will start coming.
According to MLB.com, Jameson Taillon will get the start for New York on Saturday afternoon and try to improve on his pedestrian 1-4 record and 5.09 ERA. He's been better of late, with a 3.52 ERA over his last three starts, but will need to be sharp to make sure the offense doesn't need a huge night to stay in the game. He's made 11 starts already on the season for New York and while his strikeout numbers have improved, his WHIP and BB9 have risen as well and been an issue. Taillon was decent in his last start against the Red Sox and will be looking to ride a little bit of confidence over into this weekend. Last time out he went 5.1 innings, allowing six hits and three runs, while only walking one.
Phillies Looking Offensive AnswersThe Phillies will prove to be a tough opponent for the Yankees and much like New York, they finally have some players of their own back into the swing of things. Only Didi Gregorius will be out for the position players and the Yankees will be happy to not have to worry about taking on their former shortstop. The bullpen is more of a concern right now for Philadelphia, with five relievers out and stretching that bullpen thinner and thinner. Momentum is high right now for the Phillies, as they've been getting it done on both sides of the ball, but especially from their starters, which they'll need again on Saturday.
Among all NL second basemen (min. 40 games played at 2B), Jean is the only one to rank in the top two in all three categories.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) June 11, 2021
We call that All-Star worthy: https://t.co/gTYAEJiuQ6 pic.twitter.com/fzoHJayteV
The Phillies entered the season knowing they had one of the best one-two punches in the league between Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins, but it's been the play of Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen that has helped set the tone for the offense this year. Hoskins leads the team in batting average (.248), home runs (12), RBI (35), and total hits (57), while McCutchen leads in OBP (.328). McCutchen though has added ten home runs of his own and Segura is hitting .323, but doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify for the team lead. Over the last week, Segura is hitting .333 and J.T. Realmuto .316, but a .167 average for Harper and .077 average for Hoskins will have to improve if they want to be able to match the Yankees' offensive potential.
According to MLB.com, Vince Velasquez will get the start for the Phillies in what was a nice start to the season for him. His 2-1 record and 4.33 ERA are decent, but he has been struggling of late. In his first six starts he had an ERA of 2.30, but in his last two starts, it sits at 11.57. With the Yankees coming to town, the last thing the Phillies want is for his confidence to be shaken. He only it through four innings last time out against the Nationals, and made it through three innings the start before in a loss to the Reds. He'll need to be on top of his game or else the Yankees might make quick work of him for a third straight early departure.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Yankees offense has been surging of late from the top to the bottom of the order and they have a great matchup against Velasquez. Velasquez has been struggling of late and with especially Stanton and Judge coming in and playing some of their best baseball of the season, it seems like a prime opportunity for them to snag a win on Saturday afternoon. The Phillies have been the opposite, getting wins but seeing their offense stall somewhat. With Hoskins and Harper both struggling coming into Saturday, the Phillies can't win unless something drastic changes for those two, which seems not likely that they'll just flip a switch suddenly. Taillon's record also doesn't tell the whole story for how reliable he can be and he'll be excited to see the Phillies and have some confidence on the mound that'll be missing from Velasquez. Expect the Yankees to have a nice night offensively and to roll to a win on Saturday.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Yankees bats have been swinging well and with both Judge and Stanton feeding off of each other and combining for five home runs in the last week, fireworks can be expected to fly again for the offense on Saturday. While the Phillies have been struggling offensively, they still have power potential in the lineup and against Taillon, it wouldn't be shocking to see them put up a few runs. Additionally, according to covers.com, for New York the over is 5-0 in their last five games, 4-0 in their last four games coming off allowing five runs or more the last time out, is 6-0 in their last six games as a favorite, is 6-0 in their last six interleague games against a righty, and ais 5-0 in their last five games on grass. For Philadelphia, the over is 4-0-1 in their last five home starts with the total set between 9 and 10.5,