CC Sabathia returns to the mound for the first time in a little more than three weeks when the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays continue their series on Tuesday night.
Sidelined since June 24 with a left groin strain, Sabathia will be opposed by Toronto's Brett Cecil in the 7:05 p.m. (ET) first pitch at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks opened as hefty $2.00 favorites with a 9½-run total.
The series got underway Monday night with New York priced at -175 in a battle of right-handers, Phil Hughes and Henderson Alvarez. Game 1's total opened at 10 but had been pushed up to 10½ at most shops monitored by the Don Best Pro Odds. This is just the second time this season the two clubs have met, and the first of five series scheduled for the AL East foes between now and the final weekend of September. Toronto swept a mini 2-game set at Rogers Centre in mid-May when both contests stayed 'under' the total.
Sabathia has enjoyed tremendous success against the Jays dating back to his days with the Cleveland Indians. Sixteen starts vs. Toronto have resulted in 13 wins for both him and his clubs while fashioning a 3.16 ERA. New York is 5-1 behind Sabathia since he donned the pinstripes at the start of the 2009 campaign.
The big southpaw won his first three home assignments this season before losing two of the last three. Sabathia's Bronx stats include a solid 2.33 ERA and stingy .202 batting average allowed.
Cecil has made five starts since being called up in mid-June when rookie Drew Hutchison was sidelined by a bum right elbow. Thanks to Blue Jays hitters scoring 37 runs in those games, Toronto has managed to win four of the outings despite Cecil's bloated 6.75 ERA.
The former star at Maryland will be taking his 10th career crack at the Yanks with his ERA in the previous nine just below five and Toronto winning five of the clashes.
New York currently owns a 5-game home winning streak against the Blue Jays and won seven of the nine played in the Bronx a season ago.
Hot Athletics Return Home To Host Rangers
Perhaps I was a bit too hasty when I said the Oakland Athletics wouldn't be able to maintain the .500 record while updating MLB futures and the division races in a recent article. The A's are the hottest team going in July (9-1), and return home from a sweep of the Twins in Minnesota this past weekend to host the AL West-leading Texas Rangers for a quick 2-game set that begins Tuesday night (10:05 p.m. ET).
A couple of veteran right-handers are slated to square off in the opener as Roy Oswalt gets the ball for Texas and Bartolo Colon goes for the Athletics. The game hovered around a pick on the initial money lines while the 7½-run total leaned to the 'over.'
Oswalt was beaten up in his only road start since joining the Rangers when the White Sox posted a 19-2 laugher at US Cellular Field on July 3. Chicago tagged Oswalt for 11 runs (9 earned) and belted three round-trippers in the game. But he bounced back just before the break with a nice outing at home, working into the sixth and allowing just one run in Texas' eventual 4-3 victory over the Twins. He has only made two starts vs. Oakland in his career, the last time in 2007, and this will be just his second appearance at The Coliseum.
Colon, meanwhile, will be making his second appearance against Texas this season after working eight shutout innings from this mound in early June to help the A's to a two-zip triumph. The beefy Dominican has had some success vs. the Rangers over his career with a 3.88 ERA in over 208 innings and a 19-8 record.
The clubs have split their 10 battles in 2012, the A's winning three of four on their home diamond while the Rangers are 4-2 in the Lone Star State. The totals have run a bit contrary to what you might expect in the two parks, however, with the 'over' 3-1 in Oakland and the 'under' 4-1-1 in Texas.