The Yankees bolstered their rotation on Thursday afternoon trading a pair of prospects to the Blue Jays for veteran starter J.A. Happ. The 35-year old southpaw, a first-time All-Star in 2018, is 10-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 20 starts. Toronto gained outfielder Billy McKinney, a top prospect, and infielder Brandon Drury in the deal. Happ is in the final year of a 3-year, $36 million contract.
Happ solidifies a stout rotation consisting of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Sonny Gray. The crafty left-hander is no stranger to breaking in new rubber, making stops in Philadelphia (2007-10), Houston (2010-12), Pittsburgh (2015), Seattle (2015), and Toronto twice (2012-14, 2016-18).
Happ is a perfect piece to help New York track down the Red Sox and make a playoff run. He owns postseason experience, winning a World Series with the Phillies (2008), and tallies 70 career starts versus AL East foes—18 against Boston.
Happ’s repertoire is still formidable as well. His fourseam fastball registers in the low 90s, complimented by a sinker, change, slider and rare curveball. “He’s got some swing and miss [stuff],” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman praised following the trade. “He’s navigated the landscape of this particular division already. So we know he’s battle-tested.”
When Betting Favorite
Happ’s clubs are 69-47 SU (59.5 percent) all-time as the betting favorite when starting. Backers return 0.8 percent profit at -149.1 average odds. The Yankees have gone off underdogs just nine times all year, so expect to see chalk nearly every time out.
When the southpaw is pitching in front of a lineup that scores better than 4.0 runs per game, the record jumps to 60-34 SU (63.8 percent) with a return of 6.1 percent (-152.4 odds). New York currently ranks second in the bigs with 5.19 runs per contest.
Bettors will want to target -160 odds or less in the abovementioned situation. This generates 9.3 percent of Happ’s return, as opposed to just 1.8 lying greater.
Against the Red Sox
All but three of Happs’ 18 career starts against Boston came in a Blue Jays uniform. He is 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Happ’s teams own a 11-7 record overall at 109.7 average odds. The staff allows 4.0 runs per game. With a betting line less than +110, Happ and the pen have won seven of nine, holding the Sox to an average 2.7 runs.
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