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The Yankees are the favorite in the American League and that’s with a rotation that isn’t as deep as they’d like. But when you have one of the top five pitchers on the planet toeing the rubber, combined with your potent offense, you have a recipe for success. We are going to take a TRIPLE dip on day one. We like the Yankees to win on the money line and cover the spread as well as this game to go under.
Yankees to win
Cover the spread
|Toronto Blue Jays vs New York Yankees
|Toronto Blue Jays vs New York Yankees
|Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
|Thursday, April 1, 1:05 p.m. EST
|How to Watch
It’s the best day of the year, don’t try to debate it. Fans will be back in the stands, beer will be flowing and every single team still has high hopes for their campaign.
There’s nothing quite like Opening Day in baseball and when you add to it that it’s really been two full years since we had a true Opening Day, you can bet the players, managers, and fans will all be wired to start this one.
And it doesn’t get much better than a matchup between the juggernaut that is the Yankees and a Blue Jays team that people aren’t quite sure what to make of. Are their youngsters ready to take the next step? Is their rotation deep enough? Can they keep pace in a loaded division?
All those questions will start getting answered on Opening Day, so let’s see what we’re watching specifically on Thursday.
Gerrit Cole had numbers that would make 98 percent of major leaguers jealous in his 2020 campaign. The 324-million-dollar man went 7-3 in his first season in New York, posting a 2.84 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while striking out 94 batters in 73 innings. Those are great numbers, but his August was rather rocky, going 2-2 on the month with a 4.19 ERA while finishing with quality starts in just two of his six outings. Outside of that month, he never gave up more than three runs in a start including the postseason.
His stuff is as good as it gets in baseball — overpowering fastball and a wipeout breaking ball that he can throw in any count. But what separates Cole on Opening Day, is his manager Aaron Boone won’t hold him back. Oftentimes these days managers will pull a guy after 85 pitches to help him get his arm back in shape, but Cole can go more than 100 out of the gate.
Don’t be surprised if you see him pitch into the seventh inning in dominant fashion.
That title above needs to be the thought process of Blue Jays ace Hyun-Jin Ryu — and it probably is.
Ryu makes his second Opening Day starts in as many seasons for the Blue Jays and he could quite possibly hold the keys to their success this season. The southpaw posted a 2.69 ERA last season while finishing third in AL Cy Young voting. Ryu gave up one run or fewer in eight of his final 10 regular-season starts as the Jays went 8-2 in those games.
Ryu went six innings or deeper in seven of those games all while never throwing more than 100 pitches in a game. However he did throw 94 in the opener last year, so he should have enough leash to make this a true pitcher’s duel.
Ryu’s job is simple for Thursday — leave with the game tied. If he’s done that, he’s done his job.
Toronto will have to wait to unveil their flashiest new toy from the offseason. All-Star outfielder George Springer will open the season on the injured list with an oblique strain that is expected to keep him out at least a couple of weeks.
But even with him missing, the Blue Jays have a loaded top half of their lineup: Cavan Biggio, Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez, and Vladamir Gurerro Jr. all in the top five spots.
Someone to keep an eye one specifically: Guerrero Jr., who was hitting the ball hard in spring. He also was getting it in the air more — a welcomed sight after groundballs plagued him last season.
But the Yankees can of course match that and then some with DJ Lemahieu, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Gary Sanchez, Jay Bruce, and Clint Frazier.
You could identify anybody from this list, but we will start with Aaron Judge — arguably the best power hitter in the game when healthy. It will be interesting to see if he can get off to a hot start in 2021.
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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