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New York Yankees Betting Predictions – American League Preview: New York Yankees

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 2/14/2013 6:14:52 PM

NFL betting experts who don't devote a lot of attention to big-league baseball might think that the New York Yankees are still the class of the American League East. That's an understandable reaction, but in 2013, it might not be rooted in a sober appraisal of the landscape in Major League Baseball. The betting websites that are scrutinizing lineups and statistics might be inclined to give the nod in the 2013 American League East to the Tampa Bay Rays. They will also give the Toronto Blue Jays consideration as well, due to the fact that the Jays – thanks to multiple transactions – have made themselves relevant once again. Toronto's headlining acquisitions – R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes – have changed the equation in the Yankees' corner of the baseball world. It is ultimately quite noticeable that the Yankees – if not quite an underdog – certainly don't stand above the crowd in this loaded division.

There are two big reasons why the Yankees don't command the same level of fear and awe, even though they're still highly respected and a force to be taken quite seriously. First, their lineup lacks punch. You saw the Yankees struggle to score in the playoffs last season. Even when they won against the Baltimore Orioles, they barely scraped by, needing a clutch home run from Raul Ibanez in Game 3 to stave off defeat and a 2-1 series deficit. Ibanez was a pinch-hitter for Alex Rodriguez, whose production and plate skills evaporated in October. With Curtis Granderson – a first-half-of-the-season power source – going silent in the second half of the season and in the playoffs as well, the Yankees' bats grew limp. Even Robinson Cano, the brilliant second baseman in his prime years – couldn't unleash the full measure of his hitting talents in the American League playoffs.

This team has to wonder where the power numbers will come from this season, and in a park – Yankee Stadium – that demands an ability to hit for power, New York must be very concerned. It is possible that Mark Teixeira, who was injured for much of last season, will bounce back and thump the baseball in 2013. New addition Kevin Youkilis should help at third base, especially if Alex Rodriguez is indeed suspended 50 games for using banned substances (a drama that has yet to be resolved, one way or the other). However, the outfield simply won't hit for power. Brett Gardner (left field) and Ichiro Suzuki (right field) will not be able to hit home runs in the alleys; they must learn to pull the ball down the lines and hit a lot of cheap 320-foot homers this season.

The second reason the Yankees aren't as imposing as they've been in past years is that, as is the case with a losing player in online poker, they might not get dealt the right cards. Phrased differently, the Yankees might not have enough pitchers who will be able to deal at a high level. Andy Pettitte is still a productive pitcher; he's not stealing money. Yet, his body is going to give out at some point, making his lack of durability an issue. Phil Hughes is a homer magnet in the summer, when the ball jumps. Ivan Nova, whose 2012 was plagued by injuries, has to have a big-time year if the Yankees are going to make the playoffs. This rotation has C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda as anchors, but it will need a third starter to perform at an elite level throughout the season. Kuroda isn't exactly a spring chicken; in his late 30s, he will need at least four days of rest between starts, and often five; another starter will have to pitch a lot of innings and do so with distinction.

The bullpen gets back Mariano Rivera, who chose not to retire after an injury put his career into question last season. If Mo is his usual untouchable self on the mound, a lot of the Yankees' problems will diminish, but New York must score in order to give its Hall of Fame closer a chance to save 50 or more games.

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