If your 2023 MLB predictions included the Yankees barely clinging onto a Wild Card spot and the Rangers running away from the Astros, Angels, and Mariners in the West, congratulations, you knew something I, and most people, definitely did not. Let’s take a look at the odds for an intriguing matchup between two teams that have surprised the viewing public for different reasons, where my prediction is a Rangers win and for the over to hit with a total of 8.5 runs.
Rangers Vs. Yankees Prediction
This matchup, in addition to providing a stark comparison between an overachieving squad and an underachieving one, also features a juxtaposition of styles. The Rangers are currently the highest-scoring team in the sport, at an average of over 6 per game, while the Yankees rely on their arms, as they’ve allowed the 6th-fewest runs in the league.
That being said, Texas has actually allowed one fewer run than New York, so they’ve just been flat-out better thus far. New York’s one true strength is their outstanding bullpen, which has dealt with offseason and in-season injuries and still been baseball’s best, with an ERA of 2.97. The Rangers are 23rd in that category with a figure of 4.35, so if this one’s close late, the Bronx Bombers might just find a way.
That being said, the starting matchup does favor Texas. Clarke Schmidt has settled down considerably after a rough start, he’s working on his second month with an ERA in the mid-3s after tossing a 6.84 number in 6 April starts. The Rangers are trotting out Dane Dunning, who started the year as a lights-out long reliever (1.77 ERA, 0.836 WHIP) and has been less exceptional but still strong as a starter (3.25 ERA, 1.353 WHIP)
The Yanks are coming off of an important but unconvincing series against the Mariners, featuring sporadic offense across all three games and a blowout loss in the series finale. Schmidt has been a bit better of late, but still isn’t the league’s best arm- definitely not someone I trust against the league’s top lineup.
The Yanks hit the ball out of the park more at home and Dunning has given up a few long balls since becoming a starter, so they could run into a couple. Paired with the matchup between Schmidt and the Rangers lineup, I’m pretty comfortable with the over, to go along with my pick of a Rangers win.
Rangers Vs. Yankees Prediction: Rangers ML, Over 8.5
Rangers Vs. Yankees Odds
At home, the Yankees are listed at -105 on the moneyline, while the visiting Rangers are listed at -115. For a run total of 8.5, the over and under are both -110.
Rangers Vs. Yankees Betting Matchups
Clarke Schmidt Vs. Baseball’s Highest-Scoring Lineup
Yes, it’s a broad comparison, but not without reason. Schmidt has struggled against all sorts of batters, and the Rangers lineup has been the league’s top unit due to a relatively egalitarian attack, so it’s worth looking at the whole matchup rather than restricting our investigation.
One trend is that Schmidt is particularly bad against lefties, allowing an OPS over .900, and the Rangers’ one true standout bat has been Corey Seager. The former Dodger has missed some time, but is currently ripping the baseball to the tune of a .358 batting average on the season, with that figure over .400 over the past couple of weeks.
The Rangers also have a pair of power righties in the heart of the lineup that would strike fear into just about any pitcher’s heart. Adolis Garcia leads the team with 15 long balls, while Rookie of the Year frontrunner Josh Jung has 15 of his own; the two are posting nearly identical OPS numbers of .823 and .822.
It seems like solid bats are coming out of the woodworks just about everywhere for the Rangers, as players like Jonah Heim, Ezequiel Durán, and Leody Taveras are all racking up an OPS over 100 points higher than their career total. This group is highlighted by Durán and his .879 number to go along with a .310 batting average.
One of baseball’s biggest surprises so far, this Rangers lineup is a veritable wrecking crew, and they do it without leaning too heavily on one or two stars as 7 contributors have accumulated over 2 WAR already. This combination of depth and star talent is the biggest reason I have both the Rangers ML and the over in my Rangers vs. Yankees prediction.
Dane Dunning Vs. Right-Handed Heavy Lineup
Dunning has been solid against most bats, but has had a bit of a tougher time with righties. The New York lineup isn’t quite as right-handed as it usually is, and is most notably missing the presence of Aaron Judge, but it’s definitely still predominantly righties. The notable exceptions, at the moment, are Jake Bauers and Billy McKinney, a pair of journeyman lefty outfielders who have both been a really nice surprise during this tough stretch for the Yanks offense.
Overall, the lineup is hitting just about .200 and OPSing barely over .600 over the past month, so there haven’t been a lot of tough outs, lefty or righty. Anthony Rizzo started the year off strong, but hasn’t been remotely himself since coming back from another injury. Gleyber Torres has been decent but somewhat streaky, and Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu have been basically nonexistent.
The production has come from less-expected sources, like Bauers, McKinney and at times, Greg Allen, Ben Rortvedt and Willie Calhoun, as well as players who have had multiple IL stints, like Harrison Bader and of course Judge. This team’s ceiling is as high as just about any in the sport, but as the lineup exists right now, it doesn’t inspire any level of confidence.
Away Team Vs. Home Team Starting Lineups
Away Team Starting Lineup
2B M. Semien R
SS C. Seager L
1B N. Lowe L
RF A. Garcia R
3B J. Jung R
C J. Heim S
DH E. Duran R
LF T. Jankowski L
CF L. Taveras S
Yankees Starting Lineup
RF J. Bauers L
2B G. Torres R
DH G. Stanton R
1B A. Rizzo L
3B J. Donaldson R
CF H. Bader R
LF B. McKinney L
C K. Higashioka R
SS A. Volpe R