It’s the first prime-time Fox national TV game of the 2017 MLB regular season on Saturday and it’s a dandy as the New York Yankees face the Chicago Cubs in a potential World Series preview. The Yankees are coming off a 3 series game against the Toronto Blue Jays, ending it at 2-1. For Chicago, they’re coming off a good series as well, winning 3-1 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cubs should be slight MLB betting favorites.
NY Yankees at Chicago Cubs MLB Betting Preview & Game Info
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 4, 2017
When: Saturday, May 6, 7:15 PM ET
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago
Probable pitchers (away/home): Jordan Montgomery/Brett Anderson
Radio: New York / Chicago
Opening MLB Lines: Cubs favored by TBA
Why Bet On NY Yankees?
It’s the return to Chicago of former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman. The Cubbies probably don’t end their 108-year World Series drought in 2016 without a midseason trade for Chapman last year with the Yankees. It cost Chicago highly-touted youngster Gleyber Torres, who is now the Yankees’ top prospect. Chapman returned to the Yankees in free agency this offseason – after criticizing Cubs manager Joe Maddon for how he overused Chapman in the playoffs — and has been great with a 0.87 ERA and six saves entering this series. Chapman was to get his World Series ring in Friday’s opener.
How good has Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge been? He might win AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP – only two other guys have done that. Judge’s 13 homers in his team’s first 26 games of a season are an MLB record. Judge leads MLB with those 13 dingers and has hit a league-best six of them 425 feet or more. Judge is homering every 6.54 at-bats. When Barry Bonds set the MLB record of 73 in 2001, he hit one every 6.52 at-bats. MLB’s rookie record for homers is Mark McGwire’s 49 in 1987.
The Yanks were expecting to activate catcher Gary Sanchez from the DL for the series opener. Sanchez, 24, took the league by storm last season, hitting .299/.376/.657 with 12 doubles, 20 homers and 42 RBI in just 53 games as a rookie. He finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He was off to a very slow start to the season (.150/ with a .490 OPS), but that’s only five games. Sanchez was out with a biceps issue.
It’s rookie lefty Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 4.15) on the mound for the Yankees. The team hasn’t asked Montgomery to be anything other than a serviceable back-end starter. On the surface, that is what he has been. His middling 4.15 ERA is befitting of a solid No. 4 or No. 5. He’s struck out a batter an inning, but he’s also lived with runners on base. He’s allowed 33 baserunners in his 21.2 major league innings. Montgomery has generated the seventh-highest rate of swings on pitches out of the zone among pitchers with at least 20 innings this year. His in-zone swing rate of 63% is well below league average, meaning opposing hitters often aren’t swinging at strikes against Montgomery.
Why Bet On Chicago Cubs?
Fans of two of the most popular baseball teams in the country can win authentic jerseys from Fox Sports because this game is nationally televised. The MLBonFOX Twitter account is tweeting questions around the New York vs. Chicago theme. Use the hashtags #CubsOnFOX or #YankeesOnFOX and #Sweepstakes answering the questions for a chance to win a jersey.
While the Cubs lost Torres in that Chapman trade, they’d do it again in a second since it led to a title. Plus Chicago has filled Chapman’s role well this season by trading for Wade Davis, who has been about as unhittable as Chapman has. The Cubs bullpen is allowing a MLB-stingiest .182 batting average. One issue for Cubs pitchers this season has been the first inning. As a group the Cubs five pitchers’ first inning ERA is 11.00. That’s by far the worst in baseball.
The Cubs also aren’t getting much offensively from second baseman Javy Baez. He needs to get back to basics in the field and at the plate, where he is swinging at too many pitches outside the strike zone. Of 247 batters this season with at least 60 plate appearances, Baez has the fourth-highest chase percentage in the majors (42 percent). Baez is striking out 30 percent of the time, the same percentage he went down on K’s in 2015. Last year, that figure was down to 24 percent.
“I expect him to get back to where he had been offensively, with more control of the strike zone,” manager Joe Maddon said.
On the mound for Chicago is lefty Brett Anderson (2-1, 6.23). Anderson was lit up for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings Monday in a loss to the Phillies. Anderson’s preparation was thrown off by a rain delay, which might have had something to do with his ugly outing. He had been 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA in four starts. He’s made five career starts vs. the Yankees, but none since May 31, 2011.
NY Yankees at Chicago Cubs MLB Betting Pick: Chicago Cubs
The Cubbies have largely been hitting lefties well this season.