Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Saturday.
The American League East leaders look to shake off an ugly loss last night on Saturday when veteran southpaw C.C. Sabathia and those New York Yankees (33-27, 17-16 away) again pay a visit to right-hander Bud Norris and the Baltimore Orioles (30-30, 21-13 home) for the second game of a three-game weekend series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:15 ET in a game televised regionally on FOX.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has New York as a tiny road favorite for this contest at current odds of -109.
Baltimore Rout on Friday
The Orioles took the series opener in a rout last night 11-3 as Michael Pineda had one of his worst starts of the year for New York allowing six runs on nine hits while lasting just 4.1 innings. The Yankees maintained their lead in the American League East though by one game over the second place Tampa Bay Rays, who sliced into that margin by beating the White Sox on Friday.
The Orioles are in fourth place but now only thee games behind the Yankees thanks to being the winning MLB picks in five straight games. Baltimore wrapped up its most recent road trip with a win in Cleveland prior to a 4-0 start to this home stand, which began earlier this week with a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox.
Saturday night’s matchup features two starting pitchers with bad stats, but unfortunately for the Orioles the Yankee starter appears to have more upside.
Sabathia Better than His Record…
That Yankees starter is the portly lefty veteran Sabathia, who is just 3-7 with a 5.25 ERA but has some positive indicators, not the least of which is pitching well in his last two starts including allowing only two runs and five hits in six innings with seven strikeouts in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels his last outing on Sunday.
Despite the poor record for a first place team, Sabathia does have a great ratio of 64 strikeouts vs. 15 walks in 72 innings, which has helped lead to a good 3.49 xFIP and a respectable 0.8 WAR. Also Sabathia has topped out at 92.7 MPH on his fastball this year while hitting 90 MPH with regularity, which he was unable to do last season when a troublesome knee cut his year short after eight starts and only 46 innings.
That snapped a streak of seven straight years of throwing at least 200 innings for the usually durable workhorse, and the fact that he is seemingly getting better with each passing start this year is an encouraging sign that he is again ready to put in yeoman’s work this season.
…but Norris Has Really Been as Bad as His
While Sabathia has good underlying peripherals that suggest positive regression, Norris unfortunately cannot make that claim as his sabre numbers basically support what a lousy year he is having. Norris is 2-4 with an abysmal 8.63 ERA and 1.76 WHIP while yielding an opponents’ batting average of .311. Granted Norris comes off of a nice start in Cleveland where he allowed one run on four hits with seven strikeouts, but he was pulled early after five innings.
Did the Orioles pull Norris early with a 5-1 lead with the hopes of getting him a win to give him some confidence? That certainly seems plausible, although the skeptical point of view would be they pulled him before the Norris they have seen all year resurfaces and blows that four-run lead!
The problems for Norris this year begins with poor command numbers that have him with just 6.96 strikeouts vs. a ghastly 4.18 walks per nine innings, and on top of that he is allowing just over one home run per game, which does not sound like a recipe for success. His last start vs. the Yankees on May 10th was not pretty either as he allowed four earned runs on six hits plus three walks vs. two strikeouts while lasting only 3.1 innings.
C.C. Success vs. Orioles
Finally, the Yankees as a team are now 17-6 the last 23 times that Sabathia has started against Baltimore, although the Orioles did beat him 4-3 the only time he has faced them so far this season.
Look for C.C. to avenge that loss here given the vast difficulties that Norris is having this year, so take the New York Yankees in Baltimore on FOX Saturday Baseball this week.
MLB Pick: Yankees -109