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TOP NEWS
JAYS RETURN HOME TO FACE A.J. BURNETT
Tue, 17 May 2011 05:15 PM EDT

NEW YORK YANKEES (9-5)

at TORONTO BLUE JAYS (7-9)

First pitch: Tuesday, 7:07 p.m. EDT
Line: Toronto +100, N.Y. Yankees -110, Total: 8.5

After serving as Boston’s punching bag for the past two days, the Jays return home to host the division’s other superpower, the Yankees, on Tuesday night. Baseball scores.

Toronto’s recent road trip was downright ugly. Starting on the West Coast, they dropped two of three to both the Angels and Mariners. They came back east to beat Boston in the opener of their wrap-around Patriots Day series, then proceeded to score one run in each of three straight losses. It culminated in Monday’s one-run, two-hit performance against Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who had been a batting practice-caliber pitcher in his first two starts of the year.

Getting home should do them some good, as should facing former Jay A.J. Burnett. Since leaving Toronto for the Yankees prior to the 2009 season, Burnett has lost five of his seven starts against the Jays, compiling a 1-4 record with a 6.92 ERA. The Yankees have lost Burnett’s last four starts against Toronto, and his last two starts against the Jays have been particularly ugly. Last August, Burnett allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 at home. In Toronto last September, he gave up seven in 2 1/3. He’s 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA over three starts in Toronto as a Yankee. Baseball odds.

Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, in particular, have teed off on Burnett. Bautista has four hits, including two home runs, in nine at-bats against Burnett, while Encarnacion has three hits and has gone deep twice over eight at-bats.

The Jays will throw rookie Kyle Drabek. He’s been outstanding over his first three starts this season, with a 1.93 ERA over 18 2/3 innings. There are red flags though. His three starts have been against three of baseball’s weakest lineups: the Angels (19th in the majors in runs per game), Seattle (29th) and Minnesota (30th). He’s already walked 11 batters this season, and the Yankees are one of the most patient lineups in baseball. It’s a tough matchup for the 23-year-old. Baseball spreads.

This one could be ugly with Burnett on the mound, but I like the Yankees at better than even money against Drabek. My pick is New York. I also like the Over in this one.The FoxSheets has a whole bunch of trends favoring the Yankees, including this:

Play On – Any team (NY YANKEES) – good offensive team (>=5.4 runs/game) against a very good starting pitcher (ERA<=3.50) (AL), starting a well rested pitcher who is working on 5 or 6 days rest. (41-20 over the last 5 seasons, 67.2%, +22.2 units. Rating = 2*)


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