When it rains, it pours, and right now it's pouring on the Baltimore Orioles. The O's are slowly sinking in the AL East ranks after getting off to an 0-5 start on this 8-game homestand, their closer has suddenly gone sour, and thanks to a rainout in New York on Sunday, a second-straight ace awaits them when they begin a 3-game series with the Yankees.
Join us as we follow each game of this series, sharing our thoughts and free MLB picks along the way.
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Willie Bee
It's all square in Charm City where the Baltimore Orioles drew even in their series with the New York Yankees on Tuesday, stopping a 6-game losing streak in the process.
The rubber match will get the ESPN prime-time treatment with Jason Hammel delivering the first pitch a little past 7 PM (ET). New York counters with Hiroki Kuroda, and the Yankees are priced as very slight favorites. Some baseball betting shops are listing the contest as a pick 'em on the morning MLB odds.
The Hump Day total is 8.5, and carrying a 20-cent tax on the OVER.
One night after the Yanks posted a 6-4 victory in 10 frames, Baltimore returned the favor with a 3-2 decision in 10. Nate McLouth delivered the walk-off blow in the form of a home run to right-center after Chris Dickerson homered twice earlier in the game to account for the Orioles' other two runs. Maybe the best news for the O's was closer Jim Johnson working a very quick 1-2-3 top of the 10th after blowing his three previous save chances.
We have previewed several of Kuroda's starts this season, including his April 14 matchup in New York against Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles that ended with the Japanese hurler tossing a 5-hit shutout. He has since had two more scoreless outings, including eight innings of zeroes last week against the Blue Jays, and has walked just one in 24.1 IP vs. Baltimore with a 1.84 ERA.
Hammel has not had that kind of success vs. the Yankees over his career, but did beat them earlier this year during the same series that Kuroda threw his shutout. The lanky righty is coming off successive shellings against the Twins and Rays, allowing 13 runs in less than nine innings combined, and his 7.79 home ERA in three assignments is more than three runs higher than his road mark.
I can't help but play the Yankees behind Kuroda at this price. A quickie 2-game set in Anaheim between the Angels and Mariners also ends today and is also on our preview and pick schedule today. Warm and muggy is again the forecast for Baltimore where it will still be in the 80s at first pitch, with a 12 mph SSW wind (out to right-center). Working the plate tonight at Oriole Park will be Paul Schrieber; the 16-year veteran is 3-4-2 O/U/P on totals this season and only five of the last 16 home 'dogs came away winners.
My pick: Yankees -110 at Bet365
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Willie Bee
New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia failed in his attempt to pick up career win No. 20 vs. the Baltimore Orioles last night in the opener of the 3-game series. Then again, the O's also failed to stop their 5-game skid, so the Yanks still got the outcome they wanted.
The losing streak at six now, Baltimore will try and stop the slide while leveling the series on Tuesday. The Orioles are slight home favorites of around -120 with Miguel Gonzalez on the mound. New York counters with Phil Hughes, and the live MLB odds at SBR show the total at 9 runs (O -115).
One thing we mentioned in Monday's preview was Baltimore closer Jim Johnson being in a bit of a funk, struggles hat continued in Game 1. The New York native blew his third consecutive save after converting 35 straight, allowing a game-tying homer to Travis Hafner in the ninth to keep the Orioles out of the win column. The Yankees turned that homer into a 6-4 win in 10, pushing their lead in the AL East to 1.5 games over the Red Sox who fell by the same score in Chicago.
Hughes was powdered in his last start when the Yankees hosted the Mariners a week ago. Seattle scored seven times before he could get through the first inning, and Hughes has now given up 13 runs his last two times to the hill while hurling just 6.1 frames. Things didn't go any better for him facing the Orioles last month, making it through just three innings and allowing five runs along with three homers.
It has been 18 days since Gonzalez last pitched, his layoff due to a thumb injury. He beat the Yankees twice in as many tries a year ago, but fell to them in New York back in April (6 IP, 2 ER, 5 BB). The Orioles are 2-0 in his appearances at Camden Yards this season despite Gonzalez's 5.40 ERA.
Eric Cooper didn't make any friends in Baltimore last night while he was working first base, and that could make things testy this evening if he draws the ire of the Orioles dugout early when he's behind the plate. The 17-year veteran is 3-5 O/U this season calling balls and strikes.
Warm and muggy is the call by the weatherman for Game 2. First pitch should find the thermometer in the low-to-mid 80s with a 10 mph SSE breeze (out to left-center).
My pick: Yankees +105 at Bet365The OVER sure is tempting, but instead I'll continue to fade the Orioles until this losing streak ends. Be sure to look at our analysis and free picks for the series opener in Anaheim where the Angels and Mariners begin a 2-game set on Tuesday.
By: Willie Bee
A huge series for Baltimore begins under the scrutiny of ESPN's cameras Monday night (8 ET), and you won't hear the worldwide leader in sports complaining about how things worked out for the pitching matchup. Coming off their sweeping loss Sunday to Matt Moore and the Rays, the O's go up against CC Sabathia. The Yanks, meanwhile, face a former teammate in Freddy Garcia.
New York's shift in the rotation delayed the MLB odds, and the Monday morning openers listed the Yankees at -135 with an 8.5 run total (U -120).
There's still a ton of baseball left on the 2013 schedule, but it's not an overstatement to say this is a make-or-break week for the Orioles. I will follow their next seven games that include four in Toronto starting Thursday, and Baltimore's slate isn't any easier next week with a home-&-home series against the Nationals plus three in Charm City vs. the Tigers.
New York didn't have to wait long for the third rainout on their schedule to become official, and it was no surprise to see the league pull the plug on Sunday's finale with the Blue Jays who will be back in the Big Apple in August. The Yanks start an 8-game roadie with Monday's match, a trek that continues to Tampa Bay this weekend before coming back to New York next week for the first of a home-&-home with the Mets.
Yanks Won 6 of 9 In Baltimore Last Season
Baltimore couldn't have picked a tougher team historically to try and shake a slump. The most-played AL matchup over the years, New York has owned this series from the beginning, and took two of three from the O's in the Bronx back in mid-April.
The Birds are also just 59-110 (.349) at Camden Yards since it opened in '92, a losing mark that includes being swept at home in the 1996 ALCS and splitting two games in last year's ALDS. Five of the last seven regular season clashes at Oriole Park went past the total.
Garcia made 42 starts for the Yankees the last two seasons, and is making his fourth for the O's this year. The last two were on the road and ended in Baltimore defeats (9.2 IP, 8 ER, 3 HR). He was a better pitcher away from Yankee Stadium in 2011-12, batters hitting .285 here against him, nearly 35 points higher than on the road.
Sabathia Can Claim 20th Career Win vs. Orioles
Assuming Mother Nature cooperates tonight, Sabathia can reach a milestone with a victory against the O's. The big lefty is 19-4 lifetime vs. Baltimore, a personal record that includes two wins in last year's ALDS plus a victory in the series opener at Baltimore roughly five weeks ago.
Sunday's postponement in New York means Sabathia will be pitching on five days rest instead of his normal four. He has done that four times this season, and the Yankees are 3-1 in those contests.
The weatherman is calling for a 30% chance of isolated storms in Baltimore, and that's pretty much the same forecast for the entire series.Look for a muggy 80º to begin the game with a light southerly breeze blowing out to center.
Driven by the history between these two teams, I'm playing New York as road chalk in Game 1. We also have analysis and a free pick on the Monday night contest in Texas between the Rangers and Athletics.My MLB pick: Yankees -135