The Yankees could reclaim sole possession of first place in the AL East on Tuesday night with a home victory over Baltimore and a Toronto loss in Boston.
What You Need To Know
The Orioles are in a total free-fall, having dropped to last in the division with the Red Sox. Baltimore's 8-5 defeat at Yankee Stadium on Monday was the Birds' 15th loss in the past 18 games. They can totally forget about the playoffs now. The Bombers are (-165) MLB odds with a total of 8.5 runs in this Tuesday night matchup. The Orioles might get back two starters, however. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is expected to be activated off the disabled list. He hasn't played in the majors since Aug. 23 due to a groin injury. When he did play, Hardy was one of the worst offensive shortstops in baseball this season, batting just .222 with a .253 on-base percentage. And the guy is making $11.5 million. Meanwhile, catcher Matt Wieters hasn't played since Friday due to a wrist injury. He's questionable for Tuesday's game. Wieters isn't having a very good season, either, batting .258 with 18 RBIs and a .296 on-base percentage in 61 games. He has cost himself some money as a free-agent-to-be. Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones left Monday's game in the eighth inning because of right shoulder soreness so keep an eye on that.
We could see the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez climb another spot on the all-time hit list in this game. A-Rod got his 3,054th career hit on Monday and passed Hall of Famer Rod Carew for sole possession of 23rd place. Next up is another Hall of Famer, Rickey Henderson, who has 3,055. Then Craig Biggio with 3,060, but A-Rod won't get any higher than that this season.
New York remains without All-Star first baseman Mark Teixiera. He is on the disabled list with a shin injury but says he "100 percent" will return during the regular season. Rookie Greg Bird has been manning first base with Teixiera out. Bird hit the tiebreaking three-run homer in Monday's win. Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in lefty Brian Matusz in the seventh to face Bird, who then hit just the third homer off Matusz all season. New York improved to 58-2 when leading after seven innings.
New York starts ace Masahiro Tanaka (11-6, 3.73) on Tuesday. He wasn't too sharp last time out but did beat the Red Sox, allowing four runs and six hits over 6.1 innings. Tanaka has lasted at least six innings in every start since late June. He has faced the Orioles once this season, allowing three runs and five hits over 7.2 innings on July 23. Tanaka is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in three career starts against Baltimore. Chris Davis is 3-for-9 with a homer and four strikeouts off him. Davis leads the majors with 40 homers but also does by a wide margin with 182 strikeouts. He might break that unwanted record. It's 223 set by Mark Reynolds (a one-time Oriole) set in 2009 while with Arizona. Davis' previous career high was 199 in 2013. Jones, if he plays Tuesday, is 2-for-9 career off Tanaka. Manny Machado is 2-for-7 with a solo homer. Jonathan Schoop has two homers and five RBIs in nine at-bats off Tanaka.
Young right-hander Kevin Gausman (2-6, 4.59) gets the call for the Orioles. He hasn't won since Aug. 1 and lasted only 2.1 innings in his most recent start, allowing four runs and eight hits against Tampa Bay. Gausman has made two appearances this season against the Yankees with one start. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 6.2 innings. Rodriguez is 2-for-5 career off him with a homer. A-Rod's next homer will be No. 30 of the season, which would be the first time he reached that mark since 2010. Barry Bonds, Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Steve Finley, Willie Stargell, Cy Williams and David Ortiz (this season) are the only players to hit 30 homers at age 39 or older. Brett Gardner is 4-for-13 with a homer off Gausman. Stephen Drew is 0-for-9 with five strikeouts.
Go Yankees and 'UNDER' the total with your MLB picks Tuesday. Baltimore is 0-7 at sportsbooks in Gausman's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The Yankees are 6-0 in their past six vs. right-handers. The 'under' is 7-3 in Gausman's past 10 road starts. The 'under' is 7-3 in the Yankees' past 10 at home vs. teams with a losing record.
MLB Free Picks: Yankees (-161) & 'UNDER' 8½ at BetOnline