NEW YORK YANKEES (77-59)
at BALTIMORE ORIOLES (76-60)
First pitch: Thursday, 7:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Baltimore -110, New York +100, Total: 9
Sitting just one game back in the AL East, the Orioles will host the division-leading Yankees for a four-game set starting Thursday night.
Baltimore enter this game red-hot, as winners of nine of its past 12 games, including taking two of three from the Yankees just a week ago. For the O’s, Jason Hammel takes the mound for the first time since July 13 (knee) with a 3.54 ERA and 1.24 WHIP this season. He has earned a loss in four consecutive starts, however, with a 7.78 ERA and opponents hitting .317 off of him in that span. He faces David Phelps, who is 0-1 with a 5.09 ERA in his past three starts. He has just seven starts this season compared to 19 relief appearances, but has thrived in the rotation with a 3.78 ERA and 36 K’s in 35.2 innings. He does not work deep into games, averaging just 5.1 innings per start (4.2 on the rod), but that should be just fine with the Yankee bullpen that has a 2.87 road ERA this year. Though the absence of slugger Mark Teixeira (calf) will be felt, given New York’s historical dominance of the Orioles, last weekend’s performance feels like a fluke. New York is 16-7 (.696) at Baltimore over the past three years, including 4-1 in 2012. Overall, they are 33-17 against the Orioles in the last three seasons. As slight underdogs, play on NEW YORK to win this one.
This pair of three-star FoxSheets trends also favor the Yankees:
Play On - Road teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (N.Y. YANKEES) - average offensive team (4.7 to 5.2 runs/game) against a good starter (ERA<=4.20) (AL), with an on-base percentage of .300 or worse over their last 10 games. (48-22 since 1997.) (68.6%, +28.3 units. Rating = 3*).
Play On - All underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150 (N.Y. YANKEES) - with a good bullpen that converts on 75%+ of their save opportunities, in September games. (108-70 over the last 5 seasons.) (60.7%, +55.1 units. Rating = 3*).
New York has had one of the best bullpens in baseball this year, earning 44 saves in 54 chances (82%) and compiling an 18-15 record. In Phelps lone career start against the Orioles a week ago, he could not find the strike zone, walking six in 4.2 innings, eventually yielding thee earned runs in a 4-3 victory. That was, however, the only game in the series New York won. While the Yankees have let their division lead slip by losing 10 of their past 15 games, they should be able to pounce on a starter in his first time back from the DL.
Despite his lengthy DL stint, Hammel has already faced the Yankees twice this year, with the Yankees winning both of those games. He has an 0-2 record in his past three starts versus the Yankees dating back to 2008. In his career, Hammel is 1-3 (team 2-5) with a 6.06 ERA and 1.57 WHIP against the Bombers. So, he’ll need some offensive support in this one and his team will look to replicate last week’s games against the Yanks when they averaged 5.7 runs per game, hitting six long balls. Hammel will also receive support in the form of his team’s filthy bullpen that has a 2.99 ERA and 1.22 WHIP this year.