Two teams looking to resuscitate their fading Wild Card hopes collide as the New York Yankees travel to South Beach for a big three-game set against the Miami Marlins this weekend. First pitch of Friday night’s opener is set for 6:40 p.m. ET from loanDepot Park. Rookie Randy Vasquez (1-1, 1.17 ERA) will fill in for the injured Carlos Rodon for New York, while Miami counters with lefty Jesus Luzardo (8-6, 3.52).
The Yankees dropped two of three to the lowly White Sox earlier this week, falling to 4-5 in the month of August and five games back of the Blue Jays for the third and final AL Wild Card spot. Things will only get tougher from here, as the team will wrap up its road trip with three games against the league-leading Braves in Atlanta next week.
Miami is just 3-7 in its last 10 games, but with everybody else in the NL Wild Card chase sinking even faster than they are, the Marlins enter play on Friday with a half-game lead on the Cubs for the third and final playoff spot. They’ll welcome the Astros for another tough three-game series starting on Monday.
The Marlins enter as -148 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the Yankees at +124. The run total is set at 8.5.
Yankees-Marlins picks: Friday, August 11
Day to day: INF DJ LeMahieu (calf)
Out: SP Carlos Rodon (hamstring), 1B Anthony Rizzo (post-concussion symptoms), 3B Josh Donaldson (calf)
Out: RP JT Chargois (ribs)
Randy Vasquez vs. Jesus Luzardo
With Carlos Rodon on the IL, the rookie Vasquez — New York’s No. 12 prospect, per MLB Pipeline — will step into the Yankees rotation to make his fourth start of his young MLB career. He’s acquitted himself well so far, with 10.2 scoreless innings against the Orioles and White Sox in his two most recent outings. He’s pitched to a 4.76 ERA with 91 strikeouts over 75.2 innings at Triple-A.
Luzardo was on a tear for most of June and July, but the lefty has hit a rough patch recently, with eight combined runs on 13 hits and five walks over 10 innings across his last two starts. He has some of the most electric stuff of any starter, with elite whiff and K rates, and his slider in particular has blossomed into a lethal weapon (51.8% whiff rate, .171 xBA). His command can come and go, but when he’s on, he’s as good as anyone.
The Yankees have been held to three runs or fewer in seven of their last 11 games, and they just got shut down for most of their series against a sketchy White Sox pitching staff, so I really don’t have a ton of faith in them hitting Luzardo today. The lefty got victimized for a couple of home runs against the Rangers last time out but also generated 22 swings and misses, and he could dominate at home tonight. That puts a lot of pressure on a Marlins lineup that’s struggled against righties all year, and Vasquez has looked pretty good in limited MLB action this year.
Pick: Under 8.5
The Marlins have a massive advantage on the mound in this one, and we haven’t seen nearly enough from New York’s lineup recently to think that they have the goods to overcome it — especially with Rizzo and potentially LeMahieu now out. Miami should do just enough to get a series-opening win.