Betting Sunday Night Baseball: Yankees vs. Orioles

Matthew Jordan

Sunday, July 13, 2014 1:43 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 13, 2014 1:43 PM UTC

The first half of the baseball season comes to a close with the ESPN Sunday night game between a shell-shocked New York Yankees team and the AL East-leading Orioles. Baltimore opened as a -115 favorite on  MLB odds with a total of 7 runs.

Biggest Injury Of Season
You can't call Yankees rookie Masahiro Tanaka the best pitcher in baseball -- that would be the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw -- but Tanaka has been the most valuable pitcher this season by a wide margin regarding those backing him with sports picks. The Yankees' playoff chances took a massive hit this week when Tanaka was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. For now, the Yankees are hoping rest and a platelet-rich plasma injection will solve the problem and that Tanaka can perhaps only miss six weeks. That seems overly optimistic. If it doesn't work, and more often than not it doesn't, then Tanaka will need Tommy John surgery that could knock him out of next season as well.

It's truly devastating as the Yankees are well below . 500 when Tanaka (12-4, 2.51) isn't on the mound. Other Yankees starters have an ERA more than two runs higher than Tanaka. He has been the team's salvation with now 80 percent of the Opening Day roster on the disabled list: CC Sabathia (probably done for year), Ivan Nova (done for year) Michael Pineda (return TBA) and now Tanaka. The only holdover is 39-year-old Hiroki Kuroda, and he's likely to wear down at that age. He did last season after the All-Star Break.

Something appeared off with Tanaka of late. He was the AL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young favorite when he started 11-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his first 14 starts. However, in the following four he was 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA. He was roughed up for season highs in hits (10) and runs (five) in  a loss at Cleveland on Tuesday and complained of elbow soreness after. Starters in Japan pitch every sixth day, not fifth as in MLB. The Yankees had been giving Tanaka that extra rest when possible but his past two starts had been on four days of rest.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently has acquired Arizona right-hander Brandon McCarthy and A's journeyman lefty Jeff Francis (after he was designated for assignment by Oakland), but that's not going to solve any problems. Cashman was interested in the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but the A's beat him to the punch there. The Yankees will be making a deal for at least one starter before the July 31 deadline.

Regarding future MLB picks, New York has now risen to +220 to win the AL East, +1000 to win the AL pennant and +2000 to win the World Series. The White Sox's Jose Abreu will now be the heavy favorite at sportsbooks to win American League Rookie of the Year.


Probable Pitchers
This was to have been Tanaka's spot so the Yankees are turning to right-hander Chase Whitley (4-2, 4.94). He pitched two innings of scoreless relief and got the win in New York's 14-inning 5-4 victory in Cleveland on Wednesday. In his last start, on July 4, he allowed four runs and eight hits over four innings in Minnesota. In the previous two before that he allowed a combined 13 runs and 19 hits over 7.1 innings. Whitley has never faced the Orioles.

Kevin Gausman (3-2, 3.51), one of the Orioles' top pitching prospects along with Dylan Bundy, gets the start. He was just sent back to Triple-A but is being recalled because struggling Ubaldo Jimenez was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday after spraining his ankle in an apartment parking lot. That type of injury only happens to baseball players. Can you imagine a hockey player sitting out with that boo-boo? Anyway, projected Sunday starter Chris Tillman moved up to Saturday so it's Gausman on Sunday. He last pitched July 6 in Boston, allowing a run over 5.1 innings in a no-decision. He hasn't faced the Yankees this season but did last year when he was up for a cup of coffee in the majors, going 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 innings. One guy Gausman won't have to worry about is Carlos Beltran, as he is on the seven-day concussion DL. Beltran has struggled this year, batting just .216.

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MLB free picks
Orioles -115 on MLB odds and 'over' seven runs, which seems really low. The Orioles are 8-1 in their past nine Game 3s of a series. The 'over' is 5-0 in Whitley's past five starts. The 'over' is 5-1 in Baltimore's past six Sunday games. 

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