Factor in Bullpen for AL East Rivalry MLB Picks: Orioles-Yankees

Doug Upstone

Friday, May 8, 2015 12:54 PM UTC

Friday, May. 8, 2015 12:54 PM UTC

Chances were Baltimore was not going to be as good as last year’s 96-win team, yet few making MLB picks would have predicted they would be in last place just over a month into the season.

However, that is exactly where the Orioles are. Hard to say if the riot situation caused turmoil with two cancellations, playing a game in an empty stadium and having a home series in Clearwater, but something is amiss with Baltimore. Tonight they will face the first place Yankees as underdogs and should they be regarded as a good or bad bet against the MLB odds?


Baltimore Has to Start Scoring Again
Since leaving Baltimore (12-14 -1.8 units) behind, the Orioles have tallied 14 runs in six outings which explains their 2-4 record and why they have not been a popular choice for MLB picks. In particular, as noted by MLB baseball handicappers like yours truly, the O’s have not come through when it mattered lately being 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position. "We're just not clicking where we need to be offensively yet," manager Buck Showalter said.

Tonight they face a New York pitcher who they could score some runs on and they are 14-5 after scoring three runs or less in three straight games since 2013.

This expert handicapper thinks the Orioles can upset the Yankees tonight!

Yankees Looking Like Yesteryear
Expectations were rather low coming into 2014 for the Yankees (18-11, +7.1) , who despite winning 84 games a season, had a profile based on run differential of a team that should have won 77 times a last year. However, Jacoby Ellsbury (.363 BA, .438 OBP) and Brett Gardner (.318 BA, .418 OBP) have started the season on fire and Mark Teixeira (10 HR’s) Alex Rodriguez (7 HR’s) and even forgotten Chris Young (6 HR’s) have supplied the power bats for a better than presumed offense thus far.

The potentially good news is other players like Carlos Beltran (.187 BA), Stephen Drew (.169) and Didi Gregorius (.217) have not come close to their career norms and are presumed to start providing more.

The other factor in the Pinstripes playing so well is they have to top ERA in the American League at 3.23. The starting pitching has been adequate, but the bullpen has been terrific, second in ERA at .211 and batting average allowed (.175) and is the best in whiffing opposing batters at 110 punch-outs.


Pitching Matchup – Gonzalez vs. Warren
Miguel Gonzalez (3-1, 2.59 ERA) should come into this matchup fairly confident as back on April 14 he allowed one run over seven innings with a career-high 10 strikeouts in a 4-3 home victory over New York. Gonzalez went 0-3 with a 4.22 ERA in his previous nine starts (Orioles 3-6) against the Yankees, but lifetime is 3-3 and is 9-3 UNDER. The right-hander has a strong variety of pitches besides a low 90’s fastball, which includes a cutter, curve, slider and split-change. Most of the time Gonzalez has a very good feel according to scouts.

Adam Warren (2-1, 4.78) has not enjoyed a distinguished career to this point at 27, as he will make his sixth start of the season after being called upon only other times since 2012 to do so, being primarily a reliever. Warren has a dramatic home/road differential with a 1.64 ERA at Yankee Stadium compared to 7.04 on the road. He has never started against Baltimore, but in 10 relief appearances his ERA is a sorry 8.10.


Odds and Outcomeal
The MLB odds at sportsbooks like GTBets have New York at -120 with a total of 8.5. The Yankees have shown the ability to limit power teams and is 18-5 at home versus clubs averaging 1.25 or more homers a game the last three years. Plus, against what have been low hit-volume pitchers, the Bronx Bombers are 6-0 against a starting pitcher who gives up 5.5 or less hits an outing this season.

Maybe not my top choice on the Friday board, but the Yankees get the call here.

MLB Free Pick – New York wins

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