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NYY/Oakland over 3.5 -130:
Coming off a 3 game much needed sweep of Seattle, the NY Yankees (34-31) find themselves just 3.5 games back of struggling first place Toronto heading into Friday night. The Bronx Bombers travel to Oakland (40-26) 4-2 so far on their road trip. The Athletics avoided a sweep in Anaheim thanks to a 7-1 win Wednesday night increasing Oakland's lead over Anaheim to 3.5 games. Oakland begins a 10 game homestand featuring future dates with Texas and Boston while the Yankees return to the stadium next week for 6.
The pin-stripers send a struggling David Phelps (1-4 4.88) to the hill this evening. The 27 year old righty dropped his 4th straight decision overall last weekend to Kansas City yielding 7 runs on 10 hits in 52/3 innings pitched. Manager Joe Girardi has pondered tweaking his rotation using the latest struggles of Phelps and his versatility to appear in long and short relief situations. Phelps faces an Oakland lineup who has averaged 5.1 runs per contest doing most of their damage in the heart of their lineup home and away from the O.com Coliseum. Oakland is hitting only .250 overall but are second in the AL in HR with 77, 14 behind league leading Toronto. Josh Donaldson (.258 17 50) however has been slumping hitless in his last 21 at bats as Bob Melvin game him the night off Wednesday night. Brandon Moss (.267 16 53) leads the club in RBI and has been a tough out all season long. Yoenis Cespedes (.261 12 42) is hitting .333 over his current 9 game hitting streak. Coco Crisp (.274 4 18) leads the team in batting along with 11 stolen bases hitting safely in 6 of his last 7. The combination of Derek Norris (.294 6 26) and John Jaso (.273 6 19) has worked very nicely and gives the A's multiple weapons behind the plate.
Oakland counters with Sonny Gray (6-2 2.83) who by far is coming off his worst start of the season this past weekend in Baltimore. Against the Orioles last Saturday Gray gave up 5 runs on 4 hits in 5 IP despite fanning 7 batters. Gray however has delivered quality starts in 11 of his 13 outings this season. He faces a Yankees lineup that is averaging barely 4 runs per game and hitting just .254 overall far representing Bronx Bombers with just 53 HR. Jacoby Ellsbury (.290 4 29) has hit in 15 straight games and belted a 2 run HR Thursday night against the Mariners. Brett Gardner (.278 4 23) also HR'ed and leads NY with 14 stolen bases. Yangervis Solarte (.283 6 28) has been a huge contributor all season long but is in the midst of a 4 for 24 slump (.167) over the past week. Mark Teixeira (.241 11 30) has shown a resurgence of power despite battling wrist inflammation hoping to play through the pain. Brian McCann (.229 7 28) and Alfonso Soriano (.228 6 22) have been nothing short of disappointments in the farewell season for Deerk Jeter (.271 1 14), though the Yanks have to feel fortunate the position they are in and given the weak company of the AL East.
We get a very expensive price heading into tonight's action given the pitcher friendly like dimensions and ample foul territory especially in both corners. However with both pitchers looking to find their stride asking for 2 aside may not be much. Oakland has hit very well at home so far this season and the recent sweep of Seattle has given the Yanks added motivation to build on. Usually around the halfway point both of these teams heat up just like the weather. Give Gray the most significant edge thus far, but run support could be crucial which could lead this one to be decided by the middle and long relief. Best of luck however you play!
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