The sputtering Yankees got some good news earlier this week when newly acquired left-hander J.A. Happ moved a little closer to returning from hand, foot, and mouth disease. No longer contagious, Happ started the series opener versus Texas on Thursday evening. New York came into the series versus the Rangers nine games back of the division-leading Boston Red Sox for the top spot in the AL East standings. Despite their recent struggles, New York still holds a stranglehold on a Wild Card spot in the American League. They are seven games up on the Seattle Mariners and 10.5-games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays in the chase for one of the final two postseason slots.
Minor fresh off of back-to-back quality starts
The Rangers are scheduled to turn to right-hander Mike Minor, who remains one of the most likely candidates to be moved prior to the waiver-wire deadline later this month. After struggling to make his way back from injury, Minor has revitalized his career as a starter for the Rangers this season, going 8-6 with a 4.53 ERA in 21 starts this year. He’s been especially good over his past three outings, going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA to go along with 19 strikeouts in 18 innings of work. Minor is fresh off of tossing seven innings of one-run ball at home versus the Baltimore Orioles to earn his second consecutive victory. He limited them to just four hits and struck out six batters, while walking none in an efficient 86-pitch outing. The 30-year-old is now 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA over his past 10 starts.
This will be Minor’s first start against the Yankees since 2012. He made two relief appearances against New York last season as a member of the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen. During those outings, he limited the Bronx Bombers to just one hit in two scoreless frames, while striking out three batters and walking just one. According to Baseball Savant, the current Yankees’ roster is batting .275 with a .625 slugging percentage against the Rangers’ right-hander. Minor will have to be careful with Yankees’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who comes into this series with a home run in back-to-back games versus the Chicago White Sox. Stanton comes in batting .333 with four home runs in 21 at-bats versus Minor.
Tanaka dominating since DL stint
The Yankees will counter with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka for the second game of their home series versus the Rangers. Tanaka has refound the form that made him a top-of-the-rotation starter for the Yankees since coming off of the disabled list at the beginning of July. The 29-year-old from Japan comes into the series versus the Rangers with a 9-2 overall record to go along with a 3.76 ERA in 18 starts this year. Tanaka is fresh off of tossing 4 ⅔ innings of one-run ball on the road against the Boston Red Sox, striking out nine batters and walking just one in a no-decision. His only run came off of the bat of Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, who launched a solo home run off of the Yankees’ right-hander. The long ball has been a problem for Tanaka all season long and he enters the weekend having surrendered 1.66 HR/9 (19 home runs in 18 starts).
Tanaka has already made one start versus the Rangers this season, tossing five innings of four-tun ball against them on May 21. He struggled with his command in that outing, walking a season-high four batters, while allowing just three hits in a 10-5 Yankees’ win. In his previous four starts against the Rangers, the Yankees’ right-hander went 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA against Texas. According to Baseball Savant, the current Rangers’ roster is batting ,275 in 74 plate appearances versus Tanaka heading into Friday’s matchup.
- Yankees are 0-4 in their last 4 Friday games
- Yankees are 3-7 in the last 10 meetings in New York.
- Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 road games.
- Rangers are 9-3 in their last 12 overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Tanaka has been pitching well since coming off of the disabled list, but he’s running into a team that he has struggled against during his time in the Major Leagues. The Yankees right-hander is winless in five career starts against Texas with a career ERA over 6.50. While Minor has struggled on the road this season, going 3-4 with a 6.50 ERA in nine starts away from Globe Life Park, but I’m still rolling with the Rangers in this spot.
Prediction: Pick: Texas Rangers +170
Full-Game Total Pick
Over the past week, no team has scored more runs than the Texas Rangers. In fact, the Rangers have scored 14 more runs than any other team during that span, while slashing .306/.391/.557 at the plate as a team. While both pitchers enter this game on a relative hot streak, Minor has not fared well away from home and Tanaka has a history of getting hit hard against the Rangers, so I’m leaning towards the over in this American League showdown in the Bronx on Friday night.
Prediction: Over 9
Full-Game Prop Bet
Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Minor have battled since their days competing in the National League East, but Stanton has had the advantage over the course of their careers. The Yankees’ slugger is batting .333 with a 1.470 OPS and four home runs in 21 career at-bats against Minor. He closed the White Sox series with home runs in back-to-back games and is now batting .305 over the past 30 days. I like his chances of hitting the first home run of this game at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
Prediction: Giancarlo Stanton to hit the first home run
First Five Innings Side Pick
I like this one better than the full-game result. New York owns the third-best bullpen in the MLB in terms of ERA with a 3.10 mark and 518 strikeouts in just 404 innings of work this year. If this turns into a bullpen game, which it very well could, the Yankees could have the edge. Minor has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last three starts and three earned runs or less in nine of his last 10 outings overall. Take the Rangers on the five inning line in the second game of their series at Yankee Stadium.
Prediction: Texas Rangers
First Five Innings Total Bet
The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two teams and Texas comes into this game on fire. The Rangers have topped double-digits in six of their past 15 contests and both pitchers have struggled with the long ball this season. Look for this game to go over the five inning total on Friday night.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Mike Minor has really struggled in the first inning of games this season. He has a 6.00 ERA and has surrendered five home runs, while allowing batters to hit for an .848 OPS in the first inning this year. Combine that with the fact that he will likely have to go up against a red-hot Giancarlo Stanton in this one and I like the Yankees to win the first inning of this game at home on Friday.
Prediction: First Inning Winner – New York Yankees