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Avila has struggled following what looked like a breakout 2011 season, hitting just .229 with a .705 OPS in 342 games since then, and multiple concussions have put his future behind the plate in some question.
However, hes still just 28 years and, underwhelming as his recent production has been compared to his big 2011 campaign, his .705 OPS from 2012-2014 is still above average for MLB catchers.
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MLB: Yankees start west trip in Arizona
Owners of baseball’s best record, the New York Yankees theoretically shouldn’t have much trouble beating the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks, still whether or not bettors are willing to lay the -160 at Sportsbook.com with a Yankees’ team due for a potential letdown after a big series win over the Mets and having traveled cross-country is another question altogether. Let’s take a look at Monday’s contest. For more on this game, click over to the GAME MATCHUP.
With New York’s 4-0 win over the Mets on Sunday coupled with Tampa Bay’s loss to Florida, the Yankees (43-26) moved into sole possession of first place in the AL East for the first time since April 21. The Yankees, who have 16 more victories than the Diamondbacks (27-43), wrapped up a nine-game interleague homestand with six wins, and play their next six games at NL parks.
The absence of a DH poses some problems for New York, as manager Joe Girardi has been using both Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada at that position as they work their way back from injuries. “We’ll go day by day just to see how each one of them goes,” Girardi told the Yankees’ official website.
The Yankees start A.J. Burnett (6-5, 4.33 ERA), who allowed six runs, six hits and four walks in a season-low 3 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to Philadelphia. The right-hander has recorded a 9.00 ERA in losing his three June starts. He has also given up six homers over 16 innings during his losing skid after allowing four in his first 11 starts.
This could be trouble against an Arizona team that is fifth in the majors with 82 homers, and 15-3 when hitting at least two in one game. Also, with the DBack hitting just .253 for the season, StatFox cites a potential strong angle suggesting to fade Burnett:
· BURNETT is 13-27 (-19.8 Units) against the money line vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .255 or worse since 1997. (Team's Record) The average score was BURNETT 3.6, OPPONENT 4.5 - (Rating = 1*)
Burnett, who hasn’t faced the Diamondbacks since 2005, is 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA in five career starts against them.
Like Burnett, Arizona’s Rodrigo Lopez (2-6, 4.70) has also struggled of late, going 0-4 with a 5.14 ERA in his last five starts. However, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his last three starts against the Yankees, but hasn’t faced them since 2007. Of course, these teams haven’t met since the Yankees swept a three-game series in New York in 2007.
Arizona is returning home after going 1-5 on an interleague trip. Their bullpen continues to struggle and is the worst in baseball in several categories, including WHIP and ERA. That could prove to be the most important factor in handicapping tonight’s game, as it often is. Take a look at the powerful FoxSheets Super Situation being offered up:
· Play On - Road teams (NY YANKEES) - AL team with a high on-base percentage (>=.350) against a team with a bad bullpen (WHIP >=1.550), playing on Monday. (56-30 since 1997.) (65.1%, +27.4 units. Rating = 2*)
The StatFox Game Estimator calls for a relatively easy 6.5-4.2 win by the Yankees in this game and ARIZONA is 12-31 (-14.5 Units) against the money line as an underdog of +100 or higher this season. In that sense, perhaps the emotional letdown and travel issues just aren’t enough to overcome what figures to be a mismatch in talent in this series.
The first pitch for Monday’s game is set for 9:40 PM ET.