Yankees vs. Cardinals prediction: Pitching favors New York

Just a few days after completing a surprising MLB Deadline Day trade, the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals will open a three-game set on Friday night in Missouri. The Yanks are -155 favorites behind Nestor Cortes. The Cardinals, who will counter with Dakota Hudson, currently sit at +135. The Over/Under is currently set at 8.5 runs. 

After starting the season in such impressive fashion that he was being mentioned in the Cy Young conversation, Cortes endured a wobbly stretch of form through June and July. From June 8 to July 8 Cortes logged a 5.34 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through six starts and 28.2 innings of work. It was a come-back-down-to-earth moment for Cortes, who posted a 1.50 ERA and 0.87 WHIP through his first 10 outings of the season. 

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Yankees vs. Cardinals odds, pick

But it does look like Cortes has found his early-season form once again. Over his last three starts, the crafty southpaw has allowed just three runs on 15 hits and owns a 1.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. T he necessary context is that those three performances came against the Royals, Red and Orioles, but even with that easy schedule, it does look like Cortes is trending up.

Nestor Cortes.
Nestor Cortes pitching.
Getty Images

It’s a different story for Hudson.

After posting a 2.76 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in his first 11 starts, Hudson has come undone over the summer. Over his last eight outings, Hudson owns a 5.95 ERA and is walking (4.04 BB/9) almost as many batters as he is striking out (4.25 K/9). The 27-year-old right-hander has never been known as a strikeout pitcher — Hudson is a ground ball artist that boasts a 56% ground ball rate over his career — but those are alarming numbers, especially against a deep Yankees lineup that can wait out a pitcher with control issues. 

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Similarly alarming is Hudson’s batted ball profile. The former first-round pick currently sits in the 13th percentile in hard hit rate, 14th percentile in average exit velocity, fourth percentile in expected batting average and 19th percentile in expected slugging percentage. Hudson has plenty of blow-up potential if he isn’t getting groundballs and lately he hasn’t been doing that. 

Rather than laying the -155 and buy high on Cortes off of strong starts against meager offenses, isolating Hudson seems to make sense for bettors in this game. With the Cardinals hurler in dubious form, take the high-powered Yankees to put up at least five runs on Friday night. 

Yankees vs. Cardinals pick

Yankees Team Total Over 4.5