Yankees vs. Cardinals MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Nestor Cortes Right the Ship For New York? (Friday, August 5)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Nestor Cortes
- The Yankees are favored on the road in tonight's series opener against the Cardinals.
- Nestor Cortes takes the mound for New York and will be opposed by Dakota Hudson for St. Louis.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Yankees vs. Cardinals Odds
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Every team goes through them at some point, and even after their historic start to the season, the Yankees find themselves in a bit of a slump. Since the All-Star break, the Bronx Bombers have gone just 5-8. They do still have a pretty comfortable 11-game lead in the division race, though.
St. Louis on the other hand, has been playing its best baseball recently. The Cardinals have won four in a row and with the sweep of the Cubs Thursday night and are now tied for first place in the NL Central.
With these two teams going in opposite directions, who has the edge on Friday as each league’s MVP favorites face off against each other?
Cortes Consistent for New York
At this rate, Nestor Cortes deserves to get the ball for the Yankees in Game 1 of the postseason. The All-Star has gone 9-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 2.83 xERA this season. After a couple bumpy outings in June he has settled back down and been terrific over his last three starts.
Cortes’s fastball averages in the low 90s but he mixes it brilliant with a nearly identical cutter that is allowing just a .199 batting average against. St. Louis ranks just 27th in the league against cutters this season.
When you talk about the Yankees’ offense, you have to start with Aaron Judge. The MVP favorite has clubbed 43 home runs this season, 10 more than the next guy. He is on pace for 66 long balls. He also leads the league in runs, RBI and WAR.
Judge has helped lead a New York squad that leads the league in runs scored, home runs, and has the highest OPS, wOBA, and wRC+ in the league.
Hudson Not the Same For Cardinals
Dakota Hudson is a former first-round pick that showed a ton of promise early in his career. He was a Texas League All-Star in 2017, a Triple-A All-Star in 2018 and named to the Futures Game. He was named to the MLB All-Rookie team in 2019.
Then he had to have Tommy John surgery in 2020, and made just nine starts between 2020 and 2021. Since his return to the rotation this season, he has not been the same. Hudson has a 4.10 ERA and a 5.48 xERA.
Back in 2018, Hudson threw his sinker 58.2% of the time and it averaged 95.9 mph. This season he is throwing it just 35.9% of pitches and averaging 92 mph. It has allowed a .326 xBA and .407 xwOBA.
St. Louis’s offense has been really strong this year as well. The Cards sit ninth in wOBA and seventh in wRC+ and have been even better over the last two weeks. It seems they have been barreling up everything recently.
Just as Judge is the American League MVP favorite, Paul Goldschmidt is the betting favorite in the National League. He leads baseball with a .331 batting average, and leads the NL in wOBA and wRC+.
This spot might be just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees to stop their skid. New York is coming off a day off to reset and figure things out. The Yankees are 10-4 following a day off this season.
They will also get a very favorable pitching matchup in Cortes vs. Hudson.
Hudson ranks in the bottom 10% of the league in xERA, xwOBA, xBA and has the lowest strikeout rate of any pitcher in baseball with at least 100 innings.
Despite the slump, no team has a higher barrel rate over the last two weeks than the Yankees. Judge is on another planet right now, with 10 home runs in the last 13 games, and DJ LeMahieu is batting .353 with a 1.019 OPS over the stretch as well.
Given the sizeable pitching mismatch here, I would play the Yankees at -150 or better.
Pick: New York Yankees ML -150
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