New York Yankees vs. Toronto Bluejays Preview and Pick – A.J. Burnett vs. Roy Halladay

New York Yankees (15-16) A.J. Burnett +120, 8.5 O/U at Toronto
Blue Jays (22-12) Roy Halladay -130, 8.5 O/U, Rogers Centre,
Toronto, Ontario, 7:07 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of

Right-hander A.J. Burnett makes his first return visit to the Rogers
Centre in Toronto to face his old teammates tonight, but the Blue
Jays will make it hard on him as they will throw ace Roy Halladay
against him when the New York Yankees and Jays start a three-game
series Tuesday.

Burnett opted out of his contract with the Blue Jays in the offseason
and chased the millions ($82.5 to be exact) to become a Yankee, but
things havent worked out as expected. Instead of the Yankees in
first-place in the AL East, its actually the Blue Jays, who hold a
5.5-game lead over a Yankees team hoping to reach .500 with a win in
Burnetts return tonight.

Oddsmakers have Toronto and Halladay modestly favored at -130 on the
moneyline tonight, with Burnett and the Yankees as rare +120
underdogs. The over/under total is listed at 8.5 on the board at most
online sportsbooks.

Both teams had Monday off, but the Blue Jays are returning home after
a successful 3-2 West Coat road trip which had them winning the last
two games of their three-game set in Oakland over the weekend. They
split a two-game set with the Los Angeles Angels the series before,
and are 7-3 in their last 10 games overall.

The Yankees stopped a five-game losing streak on Friday with a 4-0
victory over Baltimore in a game everyone knows about because it was
Alex Rodriguezs first game off the DL this season. The Yanks went on
to take two-of-three against the Orioles, so theyre hoping to
continue the positive momentum tonight in the Rogers Centre where
they went 4-5 last season.

The Yankees will not enjoy the sight of Halladay on the bump, as
Halladay has owned the Pinstripes throughout his career. Halladays
career numbers against the Yankees (15-5, 2.86 ERA) look nearly
identical to his numbers this season (6-1, 3.29, 1.12 WHIP), which is
one reason why the righty has won five straight decisions against them.

Not only is Halladay a horse, as hes gone at least seven innings in
all of his seven starts this season, but he is especially tough off
the mound in the Rogers Centre including a 3-0 record with a 1.80 ERA
and two complete games against the Yanks in his three home starts
last season.

Burnett has had his share of problems as a Yankee so far, as his 5.26
ERA and rather high (for him) 1.33 WHIP indicates. He gave up a
season-high 8 runs versus Boston two starts ago, but he rebounded to
throw six innings of 6-hit, 3-run baseball against Tampa Bay last
time out on Wednesday (no-decision in a 4-3 loss).

Hell have to face a Blue Jay lineup that is still the tops in the
Major Leagues in many offensive categories. The Jays are 1st in runs
per game (6.0) and batting average (.294), 2nd in OPS (.829) and 3rd
in homeruns with 44 as a squad. The Jays did all of that damage
without facing the rival Yankees and Red Sox though, which is why a
lot of people will be watching this series to gauge if the Jays are
for real or not.

But the Yankees are also top-10 across the board offensively,
including 6th in runs scored (5.55), 4th in OPS (.821) and 2nd in
homeruns with 48. The return of A-Rod to the lineup seems to have
helped, as the Yankees scored 19 runs in the three-game set with the
Orioles despite A-Rod going 1-for-10 in the series.

Even when Halladay doesnt pitch well against the Yanks, the Blue
Jays still win, as they are 20-7 in Halladays last 27 starts against
the Pinstripes.

The under also has a strong betting trend to watch for, as it is 8-3
in the last 11 games head-to-head played in the Rogers Centre.

Badgers Pick: I dont think Burnett is going to choke in his return,
but I think the Jays will knock him around a little more than the
Yanks will hit Halladay. Plus, anytime you can get Halladay at
reduced juice its worth a flyer in my opinion. Take Toronto at -130.