The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs have split the first two games of their interleague series heading into Sunday night’s finale at Wrigley Field
New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs
New York improved its Major League-best daytime record to 19-4 with a 4-3 victory over Chicago Saturday afternoon. The Yankees drew a season-high 10 walks yesterday, which isn’t a surprise in facing a club that has issued a major league-worst 280 walks this season. Surprisingly enough, the team has failed to homer in a season-high three straight games, but lead the majors with 103 round trippers. It should also be reassuring to know that closer Mariano Rivera is ready to shut the door at the end of the game, picking up his 64th interleague save yesterday, converting his last 20 such opportunities. New York is 16-16 versus teams with a losing record.
Yankees starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia has registered an 8-4 record and 3.28 ERA in 15 starts this season and is coming off a 12-4 home victory over the Rangers last time out. The left-hander will be toeing a visiting rubber for the eighth time tonight, producing a 5-2 mark and 2.28 ERA, surrendering just two home runs in 51 1/3 innings. Sabathia owns a 17-7 mark and 3.57 ERA in 38 career interleague games, all coming against National League opponents. He has lost just twice in his last 16 starts versus the NL. In four lifetime outings versus the Cubs, he is 1-2 with a 5.76 ERA, recording a 5-4 loss in his only career outings at Wrigley Field on September 16, 2008 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chicago remains the only team in baseball not to win three straight games with yesterday’s defeat despite outhomering the Yankees. “Maybe we should focuse on taking two out of three, because if you do that all year, you’ve had a heck of a year,” Cubs manager Mike Quade stated. “Keep knocking at the door. Hopefully, you knock the darn thing down.” The club has a good chance of bouncing back against Sabathia, as Alfonso Soriano (12 for 36) and Aramis Ramirez (7 for 16) have enjoyed great success against him. Shortstop Starlin Castro has also been producing at the plate by going 4 for 8 in the series and is hitting .415 in his last 10 games. Chicago is 16-21 at home this season.
Cubs starting pitcher Randy Wells is 1-1 with a 5.62 ERA in five starts this season and is looking for his first victory since his season debut on April 4. The right-hander yielded three runs (two earned) on eight hits, while walking three and fanning two in a season-high tying six innings of work in the Cubs 5-4, 10-inning win over the Brewers. Wells is making his first career start versus the Yankees, but has produced a 2-3 record and 4.95 ERA in seven interleague starts.
Bettors will be interested in backing the Yankees due to their 20-7 record versus the National League Central, while the Cubs 1-6 in Wells’ last seven Sunday starts