The New York Times posted a terrific story/info graphic this week about how spin rates on fastballs have fallen around four percent MLB-wide since the league started cracking down on pitchers using sticky substances last month. New York Yankees ace and AL Cy Young betting favorite Gerrit Cole is a poster child for reduced spin rates, but he seems to have re-found his groove entering Friday night's matchup in Boston. The Yankees are short betting underdogs at William Hill Sportsbook, which is very noteworthy. More on that below.
The Times ranked Cole seventh among pitchers in reduced raw spin decrease, behind Oakland's James Kaprielian, LA Dodgers' Trevor Bauer, Boston's Garrett Richards, Cleveland's James Karinchak, the Chicago White Sox's Dylan Cease and Dodgers' Walker Buehler. Some of those guys have seen their performance fall off and some haven't.
Cole, who is -120 at William Hill to win his first Cy Young, is 10-4 with a 2.63 ERA and MLB-best 158 strikeouts in 120 innings. The right-hander also is 2-1 with a 4.27 ERA since the crackdown. It seemed to really affect Cole, who essentially admitted he was using sticky stuff prior, for a while but not in his past two starts. On July 10 in Houston, he had a brilliant three-hit, complete-game shutout with 12 strikeouts. Last Saturday vs. the Red Sox, he allowed one run over six with 11 strikeouts.
Cole's other start vs. the Red Sox this year came not long after the crackdown and he was roughed up for six runs and three homers of a 9-2 loss at Fenway Park on June 27. Cole gave up multiple first-inning homers for the first time in his career and was checked by umpires for sticky stuff after giving up four runs and four hits in the first.
Presuming this moneyline doesn't take a major shift, and I don't think it will, it will be the first time Cole is a regular-season underdog since joining the Yankees and first time since Aug. 5, 2018, when he was with Houston and they were at the Dodgers. Before that, you have to go back to Cole's 2017 Pirates days. For what it's worth, his teams have lost the past three as dogs.
It's lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (7-5, 5.19) for Boston. He won at Yankee Stadium last Friday, shutting out the Bombers on two hits over 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts. Dating back a couple of years, Rodriguez has thrown at least five shutout innings in three of his past eight vs. New York. In his last five starts overall this year, he has a 2.83 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 28.2 innings.
The Yankees remain without first baseman Luke Voit (IL), third baseman Gio Urshela and outfielder Aaron Judge (COVID list). Apparently, DH Giancarlo Stanton will play the outfield at least one game this weekend, which should be fun to watch because he's a terrible defender and hasn't played out there in two years.
Boston leads the season series 8-2 after Thursday's wild win in which the Yankees didn't use closer Aroldis Chapman for whatever reason or they probably would have won. He should be available tonight.
This writer likes the Yankees on the runline because you may not get them at +1.5 runs again this year with Cole on the mound.
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