First pitch: TBD (following first game)
Probable pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (0-1, 4.60 ERA) vs. Max Fried (4-0, 1.32 ERA)
New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves Predictions
Last night we were set to bet the first contest of this series, with Gerrit Cole taking on Ian Anderson in the latter’s Major League debut. Instead, the game got postponed due to rain, and although that same pitching matchup is still slated for the opener of today’s doubleheader, I’ve gravitated more toward the nightcap.
First off, it’s important to note that with both teams playing two, some backups in the lineups are to be expected for each game — which can be an even further boost for the prospects of an under that features a pair of clubs already with some star hitters on the sidelines. It would be nice if either one or both of Aaron Judge and Ronald Acuña is out in this affair. Given how they’re returning from injury, it doesn’t seem likely they’ll suit up in both.
So with each offense at least a bit downgraded, that figures to play more into the advantage of the two talented starting pitchers involved. Max Fried, who apparently is somehow still flying under the radar, has picked up from where he left off a season ago and pitched like a legitimate National League Cy Young Award candidate halfway through 2020.
Fried enters tonight’s assignment still unbeaten and has shown no signs of slowing down. While the usually-potent Yankees lineup can be a stiff test for any hurler, remember, this will be a batting order that is well below full health. As it is, the Bronx Bombers are just one of four teams in the American League hitting below .230 against left-handed pitching.
The 26-year-old southpaw is also someone who benefits from working at home. In his young career, Fried’s stats in Atlanta (2.97 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) are considerably better than when dealing on the road (4.02 ERA, 1.45 WHIP).
Masahiro Tanaka will also have to hold his end of the bargain for this under to emerge victorious. That’s not asking too much, especially since even if he departs early, there’s a very good bullpen behind him to eat up most of the seven innings in this contest, if need be. That’s worst-case scenario because he’s generally reliable.
Though the former Pacific League MVP (Nippon Professional Baseball) hasn’t quite been at his sharpest, it’s only a matter of time before he settles in. Tanaka’s been a little unlucky, having to contend with a .313 batting average on balls put in play. His strikeouts are also down but considering that he’s seen an notable uptick in his fastball velocity this year, I’d anticipate that reversing course.
Helping the veteran right-hander’s cause is the fact that Atlanta strikes out a bunch. In fact, only one other NL club (Chicago Cubs) has been on the receiving end of more Ks at the dish, as the Braves are punching out once every 3.4 at-bats. An effective Tanaka will pull off wonders.
Bet: UNDER 6.5 (-115)
MLB Leans - August 26
KC/STL Over 9
SEA/SD Under 8.5
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 8-20-4, -14.59 units
Yesterday’s Result: Yankees-Braves Under 9 (Postponed)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit