MLB Betting: 2011 New York Yankees preview

By: Barry Daniels | Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The New York Yankees are hardly ever cast in the underdog role. Yet, that is exactly where they find themselves entering the 2011 baseball campaign. However, future book bettors shouldn’t get too excited. The Bronx Bombers won’t return big bucks.

Pete Korner, who makes and distributes the betting line to the majority of Nevada sports books as owner of the Sports Club, has installed the Yankees as 6/1 choices to capture the World Series. Only the Philadelphia Phillies (3/1) have lower odds.

Joe Girardi’s Yanks won 95 games last season, but all indications are they won’t reach that plateau this time around. Sports Club has established New York’s ‘over/under’ season win total at 90 ½.

New York is also an 8/5 second-choice to capture its own division, right behind the Boston Red Sox at 2/3.

Most prognosticators concentrate on players that teams have in camp when trying to predict the outcome of an upcoming season. But this is the New York Yankees, a franchise that has a history of “buying” pennants.

That didn’t happen this offseason, as the Yanks constantly had to sit back and watch other teams sign prize free agents. In fact, two of those prizes (Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez) went to the hated Boston Red Sox in their own division.

The Yanks also had their hearts set on signing Cliff Lee to a pitching staff that was weakened when Andy Pettitte retired. However, Lee decided to sign with the Phillies.

So, the Yanks must make due with adding former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin to the roster. That will move longtime backstop Jorge Posada to a designated hitter role most of the time.

That leaves the pitching staff with CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18 ERA) and Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA) as the lone starters to garner a record above .500.

If the Yanks have any hopes of even capturing their own division, they must receive a comeback season from A.J. Burnett. The 34-year-old right-hander was a postseason hero in 2009, but he was an erratic mess last season en route to a 10-15 record and a bloated 5.26 ERA.

New York ranked 15th in the major’s with a team ERA of 4.06 and 21st with just 83 quality starts. The defense was a strong suit, as the club ranked third by committing just 68 errors.

New York’s bullpen is still a strength as long as Mariano Rivera can still throw his menacing cutter. The 41-year-old veteran still managed 33 saves last season to go along with a miniscule 1.80 ERA.

Offense shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Yanks. After all, they ranked first in that category last season by averaging 5.27 runs per game. New York ranked fifth with a .267 batting average and third in home runs (201).

The schedule

A ton of home games dot New York’s early schedule, as 12 of the club’s first 15 contests will take place at Yankee Stadium. Interleague action will see the New Yorker’s play road games against the Cubs, Reds and Mets, with home outings versus the Rockies, Brewers and Mets.

The statistics

New York was 11-7 against the National League last season. The squad was 52-29 at home, 38-34 against teams in its own division, 31-27 versus southpaw starters, 20-19 in one-run games and 7-7 in extra-inning affairs.

The prediction

If pitching truly comprises 90 percent of a club’s success, the Yankees will be hard-pressed to match last season’s 95 wins. Additionally, the improvement of the Red Sox in their own division will also hurt New York’s pennant chances. However, a trip back to the playoffs as a wild card entry is certainly not out of the question.

Follow Don Best's season preview of all 30 MLB clubs by checking out the following links: Florida Marlins ... Tampa Bay Rays ... Atlanta Braves ... St. Louis Cardinals ... Kansas City Royals ... Texas Rangers ... Houston Astros ... Arizona Diamondbacks ... San Diego Padres ... Los Angeles Angels ... Los Angeles Dodgers ... San Francisco Giants ... Oakland Athletics ... Seattle Mariners ... Colorado Rockies ... Minnesota Twins ... Milwaukee Brewers ... Chicago Cubs ... Chicago White Sox ... Detroit Tigers ... Toronto Blue Jays ... Cleveland Indians ... Cincinnati Reds ... Pittsburgh Pirates ... Washington Nationals ... Baltimore Orioles ... Philadelphia Phillies ... New York Mets

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