New York stands two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East division and looks to pick up its first sweep at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since May 13-15, 2005. The team has been led by third baseman Alex Rodriguez on offense, picking up five RBIs last night in a 6-1 victory over the Athletics. He is 10-for-28 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in his last eight games away from Yankee Stadium. The Yankees own the best record in baseball at 52-31 and have won nine of their last 12 road games. Picking up victories in the first two games of this series has moved the team's record to 5-1 this month.. The Bronx Bombers have had 17 consecutive winning Julys, including a 18-9 mark in 2009.
Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett is 6-7 with a 4.90 ERA in 17 starts this season, with the club dropping six straight games with him on the mound. He was much better in his last start, tossing 6.2 shutout innings and allowing just four hits in a 6-1 home loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Over his last six outings, the right-hander has allowed 29 runs and 39 hits over 29.2 innings of work. He is 3-5 with a 6.51 ERA in 10 road starts, allowing opposing batters to hit .304 against him (.280 season). Burnett will be making his eighth career starts versus the Athletics, posting a 2-3 mark and 4.00 ERA. He will be looking to capture his first career victory in Oakland, going 0-2 with a respectable 2.61 ERA in three previous starts.
Oakland has still won eight of its last 11 games after suffering through a 2-10 stretch over the previous 12 contests. The Athletics managed seven hits in last night's game, but failed to produce with runners in scoring position, finishing 1-for-5 and leaving six men on base. The club is 24-18 at home compared to 17-26 on the road, with much of that success attributed to the pitching staff allowing the fewest home runs at home in the American League. The long ball actually bit them in Wednesday night's contests, with starting pitcher Trevor Cahill allowing a pair of homers to Rodriguez. "They were simlar," the Yankees star said of Cahill's pitches. "One was a fastball, one was a changeup." Oakland has been very good in the final game of the series, going 17-10 thus far in 2010.
Athletics starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez is 7-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 17 starts this season and the club looks to win a third straight with him on the hill. Over his last two outings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians, the left-hander allowed just a single run and nine hits over 12.2 innings. He has struggled a bit with this control over that time, issuing eight free passes and punching out seven. Gonzalez has a solid 4-2 record and 2.36 ERA in eight home starts, holding opponents to a .168 batting average. He has faced the Yankees two times in his career, notching an even 1-1 mark and 4.91 ERA. The Bronx Bombers got the best of him in his third start of the season at Yankee Stadium, scoring five runs on three hits in 4.1 innings.
Despite the Yankees winning 17-14 mark against left-handers, the team has still cost bettors this season (-540). More importance may be placed on this angle due to Gonzalez's numbers at home and the inability for the road team to pick up a sweep in Oakland in quite some time. Don't get carried away due to the Athletics being an even 4-4 as a home underdog of this type (+30).