The New York Yankees take on the Cleveland Guardians in Game 2 of a doubleheader. Check out our MLB odds series for our Yankees Guardians prediction and pick.

Nestor Cortes takes the ball for the Yankees in Game 2 of this Saturday double-dip, while Aaron Civale gets the start for the Guardians.

Nestor Cortes has a 2.51 ERA. If you had told any Yankee fan before the start of the season that Cortes would have an ERA that low at the start of July, that fan would have immediately signed on the dotted line and accepted that scenario. To be sure, Cortes has still been fantastic for New York. He has been one of many reasons for the Yankees’ sensational season (the team is on pace to exceed 115 wins). Yet, as great as Cortes has been, he has struggled in his last four starts.

No, this is not a major source of concern for the Yankees, but it does illustrate the point that the team’s pitching overachieved by such a large margin in the first two months of the season that any regression to the mean — as expected as it might be — could nevertheless reduce this team’s room for error.

Cortes, from May 9 through June 2, gave up just five runs in five starts, encompassing 35 1/3 innings. He was pitching at a Cy Young level. His ERA after his June 2 start was 1.50. In his last four starts, Cortes has not pitched more than 5 1/3 innings in any individual start. He has logged a total of 19 innings across those four starts, giving up 12 runs. He has labored. He has lost the rhythm and consistency he had through June 2. True, he hasn’t gotten crushed — he hasn’t allowed more than four runs in any start this year — but he certainly has come down from the mountain. It will be fascinating to see what he does in Cleveland.

Aaron Civale has a 7.20 ERA. His story is not as nearly as layered or as complicated as Cortes’ journey this year. Civale has been tagged by opposing hitters. His ERA in April was over 10, so one could technically say he has improved since then, but his ERA for May and June alone (not including April) is over five runs. Civale allows an opposing batting average of .307. That’s conspicuously bad. It is hard to see how Civale will survive against the Yankees’ deep and disciplined batting order.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Yankees-Guardians MLB odds.

MLB Odds: Yankees-Guardians Odds

New York Yankees: -1.5 (-118)

Cleveland Guardians: +1.5 (-102)

Over: 8.5 (-112)

Under: 8.5 (-108)

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Why The Yankees Could Cover the Spread

Nestor Cortes versus Aaron Civale. Do you really need anything else to go on here? The Yankees led the Guardians 11-4 after seven and a half innings in Game 1 of this Saturday doubleheader when this article was published. The Yankee hitters are clearly in a groove. The idea that Civale can slow them down is hard to take seriously.

Why The Guardians Could Cover the Spread

After getting blown out in Game 1, the Guardians are going to roar back with a purpose in Game 2. Nestor Cortes’ regression in his recent starts gives Cleveland the belief that it can score a bunch of runs. The Guardians will certainly need to score a lot, given the pitching matchup. If Cleveland wins, it will be an 8-6 or 9-7 game.

Final Yankees-Guardians Prediction & Pick

Maybe Nestor Cortes will continue to struggle, but it’s unlikely he will struggle enough to lose to Aaron Civale.

Final Yankees-Guardians Prediction & Pick: Yankees -1.5