Yanks Host Padres
The New York Yankees have led the majors in runs for the past two years, and with a starting lineup with combined salaries more than most entire rosters, the same was expected in 2008.
They're not on pace to do so, but after their latest series, it would not be a surprise if they did.
After scoring 23 runs during a three-game weekend sweep, the Yankees return home on Tuesday looking to win their season high-tying fifth straight game as they take on the San Diego Padres.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made New York -165 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 76% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -165 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
New York (37-33) was an average offensive team - tied for 14th in the majors at 4.5 runs per game - heading into Houston on Friday. The Yankees won the series opener with the Astros, but relied on their pitching to pick up a 2-1 victory, the fifth straight game they'd failed to score more than four runs.
But New York's bats came alive on Saturday in an 8-4 win, and that momentum carried over to Sunday, when they pounded out 15 hits in a 13-0 rout.
"We had to make some adjustments, but I like the way our guys are swinging the bats," manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees' official Web site. "I just like the way we're playing."
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Left fielder Johnny Damon is hitting a major league-best .447 since May 20, which coincided with the return of Alex Rodriguez from the disabled list.
Rodriguez homered in each of the last two games, and is hitting .366 with eight homers and 26 RBIs as the Yankees have gone 17-9 since his return.
New York may be leaning on its offense more with one of its best pitchers out for the foreseeable future. Chien-Ming Wang, whose 46 wins since 2006 are the most by any pitcher, tore a tendon in his foot running the bases on Sunday and is expected to miss at least six weeks.
"We were without Alex for a while, (Derek) Jeter and (Jorge) Posada," Girardi said. "You have to find a way."
Andy Pettitte (6-5, 4.64 ERA) will be on the mound on Tuesday trying to build off one of his best efforts of the season. The left-hander allowed just a run over eight innings at Oakland in New York's 4-1 win.
"I had no doubt that he would bounce back," Girardi said of Pettitte, who had given up 14 earned runs his last two starts.
The Padres (31-40) have played well since dropping a season-high 15 games under .500 on May 24. They're 13-7 since, but dropped two of three in Cleveland, including the series finale 7-3 on Sunday.
San Diego has averaged 5.0 runs during its last 20 games, but still is 29th in the majors at 3.8 per game. But help is on the way - the Padres will add top prospect Chase Headley to the roster prior to Tuesday's game.
Headley, an outfielder who was hitting .305 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs with Triple-A Portland, played eight games with San Diego last season.
"I think I'm a lot more comfortable now than I was last year," said the 24-year-old Headley, who's expected to play nearly every day in left field. "Hopefully, I'll use that experience from last year and this spring to move forward the best I can."
Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.83) will make his first-ever start in Yankee Stadium.
Wolf has allowed just one run in each of his last three starts, and pitched seven innings while matching a season high with nine strikeouts in a 4-1 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday.
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