Yankees Visit the Pirates With An Edge in MLB Lines on Friday Night

Posted by Michael Hunt on Thursday,April 20, 2017 10:00, EDT in

The New York Yankees haven’t made many visits to Pittsburgh in their history – the 1960 World Series being the most famous trip – but they will head to Steel City on Friday for the start of a three-game interleague series and will be favored on MLB lines.

NY Yankees at Pittsburgh MLB Betting Pick & TV Info

When: Friday, April 21, 7:05 PM ET
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Probable pitchers (away/home): CC Sabathia/Tyler Glasnow
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioNew York / Pittsburgh
Opening MLB Lines: Yankees favored by TBA

Why Bet On NY Yankees?

New York will lose the DH here, which is usually Matt Holliday. It’s possible the team could use him at first base or the outfield but it’s not likely. Yanks starting catcher Gary Sanchez (biceps) played catch Wednesday from a distance of 60 feet. He’s also been swinging a bat with his left hand and catching simulated games off a pitching machine. Sanchez appears on track to return from his Grade 1 biceps strain around early-to- mid May. Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka will continue to fill in behind the plate for the Yankees.

Big left-hander CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.47) has been New York’s best pitcher. Sabathia has provided the Yankees with two straight quality starts, rolling back the clock with a vintage 7 1/3-inning, one-run performance vs. the Cardinals his last time out.

Sabathia has learned how to pitch without velocity instead of only throwing as hard as he could, which in his prime was on the verge of triple digits. So how has he been able to hold hitters to just a .182 average against him? It’s his use of five pitches that he has been able to throw for strikes, all with movement.

Sabathia’s sinker has been his go-to pitch in 2017. He utilized it a significant amount, 30% during the 2016 season and 31% so far in 2017. But it has more drop this season. In 2016, his sinker moved an average of 9.12 inches. His 2017 sinker is moving an average of 11.19 inches per pitch. That’s nearly a foot of movement that the hitter has to account for. Of the 81 sinkers he has thrown in 2017, half have resulted in groundball outs. He has largely abandoned his fastball, throwing it only once in 2017.

Only one current Pirate has faced Sabathia: David Freese.

Why Bet On Pittsburgh?

It might be wise to fade the Pirates for the next few months after Tuesday it was learned that All-Star center fielder Starling Marte was suspended 80 games for PED use. Last year, Marte set career highs last season in BA (.311), OBP (.362), SLG (.456), OPS (.818) and stolen bases (47). He also led all left fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (19).

Marte became one of four outfielders to bat .300 and steal 40 bases in a season since 2010, and the first Pirate to do so since Barry Bonds in 1990. Marte has notched 4.9 WAR or higher in each full season of his career (since 2013). The only other outfielder with at least 4.5 WAR in each of the last four seasons is Mike Trout.

“It’s hard to lose a player like that for 80 games,” Gregory Polanco said of Marte’s suspension. “You know the impact Marte made on us. You have to play, you know. This is our job.”

The plan for now appears to be to move Andrew McCutchen back to center field for the time being, with Adam Frazier being the main beneficiary of at-bats, with Jose Osuna, just called up, likely to get at least some playing time. Pittsburgh looked totally lifeless without Marte this week in St. Louis, losing all three games by a score of 2-1.

RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 12.15), just 23, is to make the first interleague start of his career Friday. After a poor season debut, Glasnow took a few steps forward Saturday against the Cubs. Glasnow gave up four runs in the first inning, including Kris Bryant’s 451-foot homer. Overall, he allowed six runs on six hits. In his final four innings, manager Clint Hurdle said, Glasnow looked like a Major League pitcher. Plagued by control issues in his debut, Glasnow struck out seven.

“He has to earn it here,” Hurdle said. “We can’t just give it to him if the results aren’t cooperating, and he’s not giving us the innings we need, and it’s starting to complicate things. He knows that.”

NY Yankees at Pittsburgh MLB Betting Pick: New York Yankees

The Pirates are a much worse team without Marte. Fade them for a while.