Yankees @ Athletics June 18 Free Pick


We finally got a win this month behind Carlos Carrasco and some good mop-up work on both sides in the Indians and Twins game on Thursday night.

Sunday’s play will be on a side as the second-best team in the American League looks to avoid a sweep against one of the worst. The Yankees have lost the first three games in their extended weekend series with the Oakland A’s.

Free Pick

Just about the entire Yankee offense struggled on Saturday when the A’s won their third in a row. New York managed just five hits as a team and only Ronald Torreyes had more than one. Aaron Judge walked in his first at-bat and struck out in the next three, Oakland determined to either strike him out with perfect pitches or let him take his base. But it’s hard to make that approach work, the longer you try.

Gary Sanchez should be back on Sunday.

Gary Sanchez didn’t start for the second straight game after getting hit in the balls on a collision with the catcher on Thursday, but he did pinch-hit. I would expect he starts on Sunday. He was hitting the ball hard before his latest injury.

I would be surprised if New York struggled to score again on Sunday, even if Aaron Hicks remains out of the lineup, which he probably will. That’s because the Yankees get a shot at Oakland’s worst starter, Jharel Cotton.

Cotton has made 11 starts this year and he’s been great in one of them (7 IP, 0 ER against the Royals back when they couldn’t score) and good in another three. It’s been a long series for the Athletics’ bullpen and the Yankees have seen all of A’s best relievers more than once this weekend.

So I’m not sure where Oakland turns on Sunday. Cotton only averages five innings a start, gives up a hit per inning and a walk every two. The Yanks shouldn’t have trouble putting up four, five, six runs.

And although they are starting a guy who has only made one appearance the whole season (and it was in relief), the Yankees’ pitching could overachieve. Luis Cessa will make his first appearance in about a month-and-a-half to start in place of CC Sabathia.

He’s made nine career starts and is always around the plate (he averages about 1.5 BB/9 innings) and Joe Girardi won’t ask too much of his young starter. Cessa probably only has to focus on getting through the lineup once before turning it over to the bullpen. Admittedly, this is where it would be nice to have Adam Warren available but I’m bullish on New York’s pitching Sunday.

Free Pick: Yankees (Even Money)

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