Orioles vs. Yankees Game 1
By: Willie Bee
They have a little company now, but enter the first of six series collisions this weekend a half-game apart at the top of the division once again.
So yeah, you could call the next three games in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles crucial even if it is very early in the schedule.
Friday's series opener pits New York veteran CC Sabathia against Miguel Gonzalez, now in his second big league season with Baltimore. A quick check of the MLB odds finds Sabathia and the Yanks -150 chalk for Game 1 of the set which we will follow in its entirety.
An 8 run total is priced a bit higher on the OVER at several shops monitored by SBR's live odds.
Gonzalez got his 2013 campaign off on a winning note with a quality effort at Tampa Bay a little more than a week ago. The righty worked into the seventh allowing just two runs before turning things over to the Orioles bullpen. He was skipped in the series at Boston earlier this week due to a strange day off in the middle of the set, and will be making his fourth career start vs. the Yankees, all in New York. Baltimore was 2-1 in the previous three, including Game 3 of the ALDS last October, Gonzalez posting a 2.17 ERA and impeccable 15:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Sabathia started New York's current 3-game win streak last Sunday in Toronto, and has been a thorn in Baltimore's side over his career. The big southpaw is 16-4 lifetime vs. the O's to go with a sparkling 3.12 ERA. Baltimore did beat him twice in three regular season starts a year ago, scoring 13 runs in 18.1 IP, but Sabathia rebounded with two wins over the Orioles in the ALDS.
O's Reach New York After Series Win in Boston
A big factor in Baltimore's surprising success a year ago was late-inning magic and the ability to win close games. The Orioles went 16-2 in extra inning contests and 29-9 in 1-run affairs, and appeared to have lost that charm in the early going this year before rediscovering the recipe in the last two games at Boston.
Baltimore got up off the mat with a 5-run ninth to win Wednesday before coming from behind again Thursday for a 3-2 victory to capture the series.
Chris Davis has been a beast in Buck Showalter's lineup, clubbing six home runs and driving in 19 already. Adam Jones is off to a fast start as well with 18 hits and a .462 average in the first nine games. Oriole relievers are also contributing with a 2.79 ERA and fabulous 29:3 K/BB mark.
Yankees Return Home Following Wet Trip to Cleveland
Minus stars like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, New York's offense was heating up earlier this week when the club arrived for a 4-game series in Cleveland. Robinson Cano fueled the attack in the first two games that saw the Yankees plate 25 runs to level their record at 4-4.
But Mother Nature interrupted the offensive outburst and rained out the contests on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Bronx Bombers are now faced with shaking off a little rust in the opener of this 6-game homestand that continues next week with an interleague battle vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.
New York has ruled this series all-time (1257-857), and is 189-99 (.656) since the start of the '96 season. The Yankees dominated the head-to-head battles from 2008-11 going 50-22 in that span, and have won 48 of the 72 contests played at Yankee Stadium II.
But the teams split last year's meetings nine wins apiece, swapping 6-3 marks in the other's home park. The UNDER cashed six of the nine games played in the Bronx.
The rain that hampered the Yanks' final two games in Cleveland has moved east, and the forecast calls for a very wet day in the Big Apple where it's not expected to get out of the 40s. The showers are supposed to taper off by game time, however, and the cool, damp conditions should help keep the scoring down. I'll be playing the UNDER tonight in New York for my MLB picks.
Season: 7-8 (-$2.05)
Orioles vs. Yankees Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Defense, or rather the lack of, almost let us down Friday night in the opener of a 3-game set between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles. The two old foes will get at it again Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, and the Yankees are shuffling their rotation for the 2,132nd matchup between the clubs.
Nobody expected Andy Pettitte to march his old butt out to the mound every five days this season, and his first of what should be at least 6-8 missed starts this campaign comes today due to back spasms. Phil Hughes, who saw his Thursday assignment in Cleveland rained out, will step in for Pettitte while Jason Hammel slings for the Orioles.
The pitching change led to a delay in lines appearing on the MLB odds board. The Greek is sporting a -116 moneyline on the pinstripes, a +106 take-back for Charm City backers and 9 runs for the total.
CC Sabathia helped New York to the 5-2 victory on Friday, scattering eight hits over eight frames while striking out nine. A seventh inning error by Baltimore's Adam Jones allowed three unearned runs to score to account for the final margin. Our pick on the UNDER did prevail, though just barely, adding to the scoreboard trend that finds seven of the last 10 in this series played at Yankee Stadium falling short of the total.
Hughes is now charged with keeping New York's 4-game win streak moving along as he toils on the mound for the second time this season. The Cali native was roughed up for four runs and eight hits in four innings at Detroit last Saturday to leave the Yankees 5-12 in his last 17 road starts (4.84 ERA). New York was 12-4 in Hughes' 16 home assignments last season (3.74), but just 1-2 in three home starts vs. the O's.
Hammel and the Orioles have split his two starts this year, winning at Tampa Bay on Opening Day and losing to the Twins at home last Sunday. Baltimore lost two of his three games vs. the Yanks last season, including a tough 2-1 setback in the Bronx for his only start on this diamond since coming to the Birds.
Temps should be in the low-60s at game time under partly cloudy skies, and the forecast is calling for 12-18 mph winds from the west (out to center). Veteran field arbiter Larry Vanover is expected behind the plate after a couple of OVERS in his previous two assignments this season.
Check out SBR's Saturday Baseball Picks, right here![gameodds]3/224652/19-93-43-1593-999996/us[/gameodds]
My play will be on the high side of the scoreboard tally, OVER 9 for my free pick in Game 2.
Season: 8-8 (-$1.05)
Orioles vs. Yankees Game 3
By: Willie Bee
The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees are back where they started the weekend, a half-game apart in the AL East ranks, after splitting the first two games in their series. They'll decide the set with ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball crew looking on with the winner possibly taking the lead in a very tight division race two weeks into the campaign.
An all-Asian clash is set for the mound with Taiwan's Wei-Yin Chen chucking for the Orioles and Japan's Hiroki Kuroda answering the call for the Yankees. Sunday morning's moneyline has dropped about a dime with the Yankees -120 for a consensus, and the MLB odds board is offering totals from 8.5 to 9.
We've seen the first two contest fall just short of the totals despite shoddy defense and plenty of home runs. Errors led to four unearned runs on Friday, yet a triple play by New York helped keep the final shy of the 8 run mark in the Yanks' 5-2 victory. The teams then combined for five homers on Saturday, but they were all solo shots as the O's and Yankees combined to go 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position to prevent Baltimore's 5-3 triumph from reaching the 9 run mark.
Be sure to catch out Baseball Picks of the Day, to see what the Dodgers and Padres are up to.
Baltimore has dropped both of Chen's starts this season despite the 2nd-year hurler owning a respectable 3.75 ERA. This will be the lefty's third road assignment of 2013 after winning 10 of his 15 games away from Camden Yards last year. The O's were 2-3 in his four matchups against the Yankees, including a win in the ALDS, one of the losses coming in Chen's only start in New York.
Kuroda stands 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA after two trips to the bump. His first start was cut short after taking a line drive off his right fingers. A big problem has been control with five walks and two hit batsmen in his 7.2 IP. The Yankees went 2-1 in three starts vs. Baltimore last year, including a victory in Game 3 of the ALDS, and all three outings came in New York.[gameodds]3/224794/19-1537-999996-93/us[/gameodds]
The weather should be fine with no chance of rain during the contest, temps in the low-to-mid 50s and a very light breeze blowing in from center/left-center. Manny Gonzalez, in just his second full season as an MLB umpire, has the plate for Sunday's finale. His first two games calling balls and strikes have split the totals after scoreboard bettors went 12-13-4 O/U/P last season.
I'm going to make my play on the Yankees as small home favorites in this battle.
My pick: Yankees -116 at 5Dimes
Season: 8-9 (-$2.10)