This weekend saw the New York Yankees held without a hit for a span of 16.1 innings culminating in a remarkable 0-for-52 drought for the major leaders in the runs scored. For those that went all in, either preseason or recently, in a bet online for the Yankees to win the World Series, it was a rare cause for concern.
Of course, the bats eventually woke up and Aaron Judge delivered a dramatic three-run homer on Sunday to win it in extras, lifting New York to a four-game split with the Houston Astros. But was the dry spell something to be worried about? Is this team — which oh-by-the-way also leads the American League in ERA — vulnerable in any way, shape or form?
The Yankees’ odds to win it all stand at +425, compared to any other team as a favorite at -850. The Los Angeles Dodgers are right behind the Yankees at +450 and the New York Mets and Houston Astros sit at +700 vs the field. Let’s take a closer look at the Yankees’ MLB odds at the sportsbook to win it all vs everyone else, and if/why either bet makes sense.
Judge Blast Ends Challenging Stretch
For a team to lose a World Series, they obviously have to drop four games in a span of seven, or fewer. It seems elementary to indicate that every team is capable of that, but the New York Yankees have only done that twice all year. There was a 1-4 swoon in May and a 3-4 span that culminated with the Astros’ no-hitter on Saturday. That’s it.
While the May slump — which included two losses to Baltimore, and two to the Chicago White Sox — involved some legitimately poor play, the recent 3-4 hiccup is nothing to worry about. It came on the back end of a grueling portion of the schedule that the Yankees had been pointing to for some time.
Beginning June 14, New York played three at home against the Tampa Bay Rays, three at the Toronto Blue Jays, three at Tampa Bay, and then the four at home against the Astros. It was a 13-game run vs teams that entered it a combined 35 games over .500.
The result? A 9-4 mark that included three walk-off wins and expanded the Yankees’ lead in the American League East from eight games to 11. So while there was the no-hitter and there was that rare instance of four losses in seven games, Aaron Boone’s club continues to motor on.
“That group’s unfazed,” Boone told the media Sunday. “It’s a great, tough room with a lot of resolves and they know what the mission is. They understand that there’s going to be bumps and hiccups and adversity with any game or within a series, within a week, whatever, and they’re equipped to handle it. I think what we’ve shown each other is that they can win games in a lot of different ways and that I think has bred a lot of confidence.“
The reward for the trying stretch is a soft landing spot, as the lowly Oakland Athletics come to the Bronx to begin a three-game series Monday. The MLB lines for that one rightly suggest a massive lean toward New York.
Looming Red Sox
For the red-hot Boston Red Sox to shake things up in the AL East it would take a herculean, 1978-like rally. They sit in second place, 11 games back.
However, Boston has cut 3½ games off its deficit in a little over a week, it is 19-4 in June and it gets to play the Yankees 16 more times, nine of which take place at Fenway Park. Again, nine visits to Fenway are still on the docket. Pretty remarkable that we’re almost to July and New York has yet to even visit Lansdowne Street.
With the way the Red Sox are clicking on all cylinders, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they cut into that gap a bit more.
Even if one considers the prospect of erasing all 11 games to be out of the question, it’s a no-brainer to include Boston on that short list of World Series favorites. And remember, this is the team that ended New York’s 2021 season by chasing Gerrit Cole early in the AL Wild Card Game. The Sox are undaunted by the Yankees’ historic start, and are probably champing at the bit to get a crack at them. The bitter rivals haven’t played since April 10.
Having a motivated, hard-charging rival popping up 16 more times on the schedule could impact the MLB odds for the Yankees to win it all.
The last time Judge had a season like this one, in which he leads the majors in home runs and runs scored, was 2017, when he led the majors in home runs and runs scored. His efforts got the Yankees as close to a World Series as they had been in the last 12 seasons, as they fell in seven games in the AL Championship Series.
This version of Judge is even better. He is back on pace to break Roger Maris’ team home run record. Three of his four career walk-off hits have come in the past month-plus – two against Houston this weekend. And a looming free agency that figures to net him upwards of $250 million from someone (it’s got to be the Yankees, who would have egg all over their face if they let this guy walk) is an extremely motivating factor.
The fans love Judge. His teammates seem to adore him as well. There is no lack of love surrounding his situation, and both he and those around him are prepared to do anything to help him get that big payday to stay in the Bronx. That should lead to summer (and maybe some of the fall) filled with Judge heroics.
Here’s to Your Health
Second baseman Gleyber Torres left Sunday’s game after turning an ankle running the bases. Boone said that the team may have dodged a bullet with a minor injury, but the image of Torres limping off the field was notable in that we simply haven’t seen much of that with this year’s Yankees.
The 2019 Yanks led MLB with 30 players sent to the IL and topped the AL with 4,614 man-games lost, according to Spotrac.com. It led to sweeping changes in the training staff, but the 2021 unit was still second in the AL with 35 disabled players at one point or another.
The organizational shifts in staffing, preparation and individual programs installed after the 2019 season seem to finally be paying off. New York has avoided any major injuries and only three other AL teams have had fewer players hit the IL than the Yankees (13).
Of particular note is the general health of the starting rotation. The quintet of Cole, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon has made 70 of the team’s 73 stars. Stability at the top is key for a long October run, and another reason why siding with the Yanks on this long-term prop bet isn’t a bad idea.