We're back with our Sunday Night Baseball betting preview this week for a fantastic clash in the Bronx, as the two teams that met in the ALCS last year square off. The Texas Rangers (10-4) will take on the New York Yankees (8-5).
The Rangers have been able to split the first two games of this series, something that has to make them incredibly happy, especially in the Bronx. In fact, Texas has won eight of the last 11 games in this series, and it has really come out of the blocks red hot this season. It was the first team to make it to the double digit mark in wins this year, and a lot of the praise has to go to Alexi Ogando. Ogando has been absolutely remarkable this year, pitching 13 straight shutout innings on the season. Dating back into the playoffs last year, Ogando has thrown 17 straight innings of scoreless, and he has only allowed one run since September 26th. Ogando was supposed to be in the bullpen this season, just as he was in his rookie year, but the loss of Cliff Lee in the offseason and the decision to keep Neftali Feliz in the pen as the team's closer really left a void for the team. Ogando has only allowed four hits in his 13 innings of work, and he has eight strikeouts against just three walks. The problem for Ogando is that he really doesn't have much of a pitch count to work with, since he has only averaged 85 pitches per start thus far on the season.
The Yankees have finally gotten back in the saddle, and they are back where they feel like they belong, at the top of the AL East standings. In fact, coming into play on Sunday, this is the only team that is above .500 in the division and one of just five teams in the entire league that is above .500 (and we're not really afraid of the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals). It's amazing to think that the Bronx Bombers have accounted for eight wins this season, knowing that CC Sabathia is 0-1 and the team is only 1-2 in his three outings. Don't get us wrong. Sabathia has been amazing this year. He has a 1.45 ERA and has 17 Ks against just seven walks in 18.2 innings of work. Sabathia did allow nine hits in 5.2 innings of work against the Boston Red Sox last Sunday when Josh Beckett pitched the gem, but the bigger concern might be the four walks that he issued. Sabathia hasn't gotten out of the seventh inning this year in a start, something else that has to be a real concern for Manager Joe Girardi.
Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees Pick: We just don't trust that Ogando is going to be able to pitch long enough to stick around with the New York lineup. This bullpen hasn't been used all that much in this series, but it's certainly going to be tested quite a bit on Sunday. We hate laying this type of lumber on an overpriced team, but we have to back the Yankees -160.