The Cubs are in the Bronx for a three-game series against the Yankees, and their toughest test of the weekend might come Saturday when Gerrit Cole starts for New York. The Yankees haven’t looked like themselves with Aaron Judge on the IL, however. Can Chicago take advantage of their sluggish offense? The Yankees are home favorites at -180 on the moneyline.
Let’s make predictions for Saturday afternoon’s game and break down why Cole makes the Yankees the better bet.
Cubs vs. Yankees Prediction
The Yankees are 7-0 when Gerrit Cole starts after a loss this season. He’s been excellent as a “stopper,” and that’s not something to ignore against a Cubs team that was 3-8 over its last 11 games before getting the win on Friday night. Cody Bellinger’s surge has changed some things for Chicago, but whether this Cubs lineup can stand up against Cole at Yankee Stadium is uncertain at best.
The Yankees have not been hitting well at all. Drew Smyly at least opens the door for this New York offense, which has been getting more out of Anthony Volpe. Smyly tends to give up home runs, and the Yankees have enough power in a homer-friendly ballpark that the offense can post a better effort than it did on Friday.
-180 isn’t a ton of value here, so it’s worth taking the chance on Yankees -1.5 at +110 in a game they have a good chance to win.
Cubs vs. Yankees Prediction: Yankees -1.5 (+110)
Cubs vs. Yankees Odds
The Yankees enter as decisive home favorites at -180 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8.5 runs.
Bettors might see some value in the Cubs at +155 considering how dismal the Yankees’ offense has been, but oddsmakers know how successful the Yankees have been when Cole pitches after a loss. Will that trend change on Saturday?
Cubs vs. Yankees Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Cubs vs. Yankees.
Cody Bellinger vs. Gerrit Cole
Cody Bellinger is healthy and has re-emerged as one of the Cubs’ key bats with six multi-hit performances in his last eight games including a home run off of Carlos Rodon on Friday night.
The biggest improvement this season from Bellinger has been his strikeout rate, which is down from oher 27% to just 18%. Facing Cole (and baseball’s best bullpen) will be a serious test of that progress.
Cole’s strikeout rate is actually under 10 per nine innings for the first time since his Pirates days, but he’s still positioned himself as an AL Cy Young contender and routinely generates swings-and-misses. Can Cole find a hole in Bellinger’s swing, or is the former MVP just too hot right now? If he continues hitting the way he has, the Cubs again could put real pressure on the Yankees’ offense.
Yankees’ Power vs. Drew Smyly
The Yankees are supposed to thrive on hitting home runs, but that simply hasn’t been reality with Aaron Judge injured. It hasn’t helped that Anthony Rizzo has gone through a gigantic power drought and Giancarlo Stanton has yet to round back into form.
Gleyber Torres and Anthony Volpe have been among the bats to flash some power, but this isn’t what the Yankees are accustomed to. If any of their power bats are going to find their groove, Saturday could be the opportunity. Drew Smyly is allowing 1.3 HR/9 and has allowed multiple home runs in two of his last four starts.
Smyly has had a penchant for allowing homers throughout his solid career, and with this game at Yankee Stadium, it feels like the Yankees’ lineup needs to strike now if it wants to get going at any point in this series.
Cubs vs. Yankees Starting Lineups
Cubs Starting Lineup
RF Mike Tauchman L
2B Nico Hoerner R
LF Ian Happ S
DH Seiya Suzuki R
SS Dansby Swanson R
CF Cody Bellinger L
3B Christopher Morel R
1B Jared Young L
CF Yan Gomes R
Yankees Starting Lineup
SS Anthony Volpe R
2B Gleyber Torres R
1B Anthony Rizzo L
DH Giancarlo Stanton R
CF Harrison Bader R
3B Josh Donaldson R
LF Billy McKinney L
C Jose Trevino R
RF Franchy Cordero L