If the New York Yankees (72-66) want to stay alive in the race for the second American League Wild Card berth, they’ll need to beat teams ahead of them. That task starts on Friday night when the Kansas City Royals (77-61) head to the Bronx for a three-game set. The Yankees are coming off a dramatic walk-off win yesterday against the Red Sox. The Yankees scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to pick up the series win. They’ll hand the ball to their burly RHP to keep up their momentum. RHP Michael Pineda (3-3, 2.09 ERA) will look to extend the Yankee win streak to three. Over his last four starts, Pineda has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his starts. Pineda was a ‘hard luck’ loser on Saturday, dropping a 2-0 decision to Toronto. Pineda won an earlier start against the Royals, tossing 6 1/3 innings and striking out five. Pineda is unbeaten at home this season, boasting a 2-0 record with a 1.50 ERA over three starts.
Pineda will be opposed by RHP James Shields (12-7, 3.38 ERA). Alike Pineda, Shields was a tough luck loser last Saturday against Cleveland. Shields allowed just one run over seven innings as his team dropped a 3-2 decision. Two weeks ago, the Yankees tagged Shields for six runs and ten hits over 6 2/3 innings. Knowing how compeitive Shields is, he’ll want revenge.
Current MLB odds list the Yankees as a home favorite (-125). Despite being favored, I like Kansas City in this spot. The Yankees are coming off an emotional walk off win over the Red Sox and Derek Jeter’s number will be retired on Sunday. Expect Shields to have a big outing to propel his team to victory.
MLB Pick: KC Royals -ML