What a nice way for Andy Pettitte to return to the Major Leagues after a more than a year of retirement: against the weak-hitting Seattle Mariners at home on Sunday. Will that favourable fixture be enough for the longtime left-hander to succeed? My answer: just about. Pettitte’s work in the minor leagues in preparation for his return to baseball’s top circuit was underwhelming. In starts at the Double-A and Triple-A minor league levels he registered a 5.40 ERA. Also he probably won’t go deep into the game, which is typical for a pitcher returning from a long layoff.
Since Mariano Rivera was sidelined for the season with a knee injury the Yankees’ relief corps has looked a bit shaky, but their offence should be able to rise above those issues. They remain the third-best run producing club in the league and they will face a pitcher, Seattle’s Blake Beavan, who lasted just three innings in his last start after being hit by a line drive. Beavan has since dealt with a lot of swelling in his elbow and this should be a distraction. On at 1.50, the Yankees are an understandable favourite against the Mariners at 2.60.
Pitchers will reign in Oakland, where the Detroit Tigers come to visit the A’s. Everyone knows that Justin Verlander keeps run-scoring down. The 2011 Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner currently has a 2.63 ERA and, when visiting Oakland, he’s pitched similarly delivering a 2.63 ERA over his career. Against a dismal Oakland lineup, he has the ability to do even better than that career number.
The A’s starter, Jarrod Parker, is a rookie with a lot of upside. In his first three Major League starts, he’s 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Though the Tigers have a number of big guns in their lineup – from Prince Fielder to Miguel Cabrera – they are surprisingly below the league average in runs scored. As a result, take under 6.5 runs at 1.90 as the over (also 1.90) is unlikely.