After taking a shellacking in the series opener on Friday night, the New York Yankees will look to bounce back in a big way in game two against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’ll turn to ace Gerrit Cole (6-0, 2.93 ERA), also looking to get back on track after a shaky end to May, while rookie Michael Grove (0-1, 8.44) returns from the IL to start for L.A.
The Yankees are -130 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Dodgers check in as +110 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.5.
Yankees-Dodgers picks: Saturday, June 3
Out: OF Harrison Bader (hamstring), RP Ian Hamilton (groin), SP Carlos Rodon (back), RP Jonathan Loaisiga (elbow)
Out: SP Julio Urias (hamstring), SP Michael Grove (groin), RP Tyler Cyr (shoulder), SP Dustin May (forearm), SP Ryan Pepiot (oblique), RP Jimmy Nelson (elbow)
Gerrit Cole vs. Michael Grove
Cole cooled off considerably after his sensational start to the season, and the home-run ball has been the biggest reason why. After not surrendering a single homer over his first seven starts, he’s allowed a whopping eight in his last five — including two each in his last two appearances, both of which saw him cough up five earned runs. The righty’s whiff and strikeout rates are significantly down, especially on his slider and fastball, and while it’s too early to start wondering whether the 32-year-old is on the decline, he could really use a vintage effort on Saturday night.
Grove struggled through his first four starts before a groin strain in late April sent him to the IL. This will be his first start back, and while he did make two rehab appearances in the Minors, he didn’t get above 77 pitches — so it’s unclear how long L.A. will let him go tonight. More pressing for the righty is finding a pitch to go with his very good slider, which has produced a .151 expected batting average and a 39.3% whiff rate ... but is also the only above-average offering he’s had so far this year. Hitters are teeing off on his four-seam fastball, and they’ll likely continue to do as long as Grove remains a two-pitch pitcher.
This Dodgers lineup is in a groove right now, especially at the top with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, and they should be able to get to Cole for at least two or three runs — if not more, given the righty’s recent form. That means we’ll only need a few runs from Aaron Judge and Co. to hit this over, and Grove was last seen giving up two runs on five hits in just three innings against the Chicago Cubs before leaving due to injury. Given his long layoff, I expect New York’s bats to hold up their end of the bargain.
Pick: Over 8.5
I’m tempted to take the underdog here given L.A.’s offensive prowess and Cole’s recent struggles, but Grove is just too big of a wild card. New York also boasts arguably the best bullpen in baseball, a real advantage if things are close late.