Friday MLB Preview: Blue Jays at Yankees

The Yankees may have the best record in baseball, but it’s not because of the previous meetings with today’s opponent.

Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees

Toronto may be 14 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East standings heading into this weekend, but the club has a 7-5 season series advantage coming into this three-game set at the Rogers Centre.  The Blue Jays are also the first club to hit 200 home runs this season, led by outfielder Jose Bautista.  The Major League leader with 43 home runs was named the AL Offensive Player of the Month in August for clubbing 12 long balls and driving in 24 runs. The club is averaging 4.4 runs per game on the road and hitting for a combined .241 average, but those numbers go up to 5.0 runs and a .258 mark against right-handed starters.  Toronto has posted a disappointing 8-13 mark as a road underdog of +125 to +150 this season (-230) and the total is 11-9 O/U in those games.  It’s also important to note that the team is 30-25 against division opponents in 2010 (+1,080).

Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow is 10-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 25 starts this season and the team has won seven of his last eight outings.  He picked up a 5-4 home win over the Tigers last time out, giving up just a single run and allowing five hits in six innings of work.  The right-hander has posted a disappointing 2-5 mark and 6.31 ERA in 12 road outings, allowing a combined .274 average to opposing hitters.  He made five starts last month, producing a perfect 3-0 record and 2.97 ERA, issuing just 10 free passes while collecting 49 strikeouts in 30.1 frames.  In 12 career games (six starts) versus the Yankees, Morrow is 2-0 with a 4.46 ERA, including a 1-0 record and 7.94 ERA in two outings at Yankee Stadium this year.

New York picked up a dominating 5-0 home victory over Oakland on Thursday afternoon due to a sparkling performance by ace C.C. Sabathia.  The left-handed starter gave up just a single hit in eight innings in what many are calling his best outing in pinstripes.  The Yankees picked up a four-game sweep of the Athletics, outscoring them by a 29-11 margin, giving them a 1 1/2-game lead over the Rays heading into the weekend.  “We’ve just got to keep going out and playing our game and worrying about what we have to take care of,” outfielder Nick Swisher said.  The club owns the best record in baseball at 84-50 and are a season-high 34 games over .500. (+700).  New York has been a home favorite of -125 to -150 just 13 times this year, producing a 5-8 record (-600) and the total is 7-5 O/U in those contests.

Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four games (two starts) this season, but the club has offered just seven runs of support in those outings.  He picked up his first career victory against the Chicago White Sox last time out, giving up a single run and five hits over 5.2 innings of work.  In that start, Nova became the first rookie starter to earn a win for the Yankees since Alfredo Aceves on 9/9/08.  The right-hander will be making his first ever start at Yankee Stadium, tossing just a single inning of relief versus the Twins back on May 16.  The rookie will be making his second career start against the Blue Jays, as he allowed two runs and six hits over 5.1 frames in a 3-2 team loss in a no decision effort.

Bettors will find that the Blue Jays are an ultra-impressive 35-22 when the total is 9 to 9.5 (+1,720) and the club has a 15-5 record when playing on Friday (+1,340).  New York can’t be discounted due to the club’s 29-11 record at home when the total is 9 to 9.5.

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