First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Jake Arrieta (0-0, -.-- ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (2-0, 3.09 ERA)
Philadelphia Phillies vs New York Yankees Predictions
So, just imagine being a hitter coming off seven days of non-competitive action and then having to jump into the box and face maybe the best pitcher in all of baseball.
Such is exactly the predicament tonight for the Phillies, who will play the first of four straight games with the Yankees (two in New York and two in Philadelphia) after sitting out on the sidelines the entire last week as a result of coronavirus concerns.
Making matters even more challenging, this will be a bigger-than-usual assignment for Cole, as he preps for his long-awaited debut at Yankee Stadium. Yes, there’s no fans but the perennial Cy Young candidate is still treating it like a momentous occasion — as he should.
Growing up a Yankees fan, this is a huge deal for Cole. He’s made two appearances in the Bronx previously — once during the regular season and once in the playoffs — and clocked out with a quality start each time. Facing a lineup that figures to be rusty, look for Cole to be on his ‘A’ game and continue the good work he’s provided thus far in his first year in pinstripes.
The beauty here is that Cole always has the potential to severely limit any given opponent as it is. With a total as high as 9, that gives a lot of leeway regarding the other starter, Arrieta, who can normally be trusted to come through in a big game — even at this later stage in his career.
But will the veteran right-hander be suffering from the long layoff like his teammates might up at bat? I don’t think so. First off, if you’ve been following Arrieta throughout his career, you know his work ethic and business-like mindset is second to none in how he approaches every turn in the rotation.
Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to know that Arrieta was still — even with Citizens Bank Park shut down for most of the week — getting in a lot of throwing during the week off in anticipation of his first assignment in nearly a full calendar year. Remember, his 2019 season was cut short by injury.
I’ve always liked Arrieta ever since he was traded to the Chicago Cubs following a disappointing stint in Baltimore. Obviously, he enjoyed a lot of success in the years after that, and though he must contend with one of the most dangerous offenses in the majors for his return, the 34-year-old still has enough left to hang in there.
Bet: UNDER 9 (-110)
MLB Picks & Leans August 3
KC/CHC Under 8
OAK/SEA Under 9