BALTIMORE ORIOLES (96-71) at NEW YORK YANKEES (97-69)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: New York -200 & 7.5 under -120
After an incredibly close four games, its only fitting that the Orioles and Yankees will play a deciding Game 5 of their ALDS on Friday afternoon, with the winner facing Detroit in Saturdays ALCS.
With Baltimores 13-inning win on Thursday, these teams have now split 22 games this season. The past three games have all been decided by one run (the past two in extra innings) and Game 1 was a 2-2 score entering the ninth. Game 5 figures to be another low-scoring affair with the Orioles batting .197 with a .238 on-base percentage for the series and New York not much better with a .216 BA and .280 OBP in the four games.
Baltimore starters have a 1.82 ERA (5 ER in 24.2 IP) in the ALDS, while the Yankees starters have a 2.35 ERA (8 ER in 30.2 IP). Both teams will be trotting out their aces, with Jason Hammel going up against CC Sabathia. Although the New York left-hander is 17-4 in his career versus Baltimore, he was saddled with a 6.38 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in three starts against the Os during the regular season. Meanwhile, Hammel has allowed two runs or less in three of his four starts against the Yanks this year. With this series being so tight throughout, this money line is way too lopsided towards New York.
Not only are the Orioles 7-4 at Yankee Stadium this year, but they are also more accustomed to close games, going 31-10 in one-run games, and prevailing in 17 of 20 extra-inning affairs.
Hammel (8-6, 3.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) pitched pretty well in his first career postseason start in Game 1, allowing two runs on four hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out five, but he did walk four batters too. Hammel is 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in nine career starts versus New York, but has pitched pretty well in his past three starts at Yankee Stadium (3.71 ERA). Although Hammel hasnt personally won a baseball game since June 22, he hasnt allowed more than two earned runs in any of his past four starts, carting a 3.12 ERA with 17 Ks in 17.1 innings over this span. But for the Orioles to win this game, the middle of the lineup needs to get going in some capacity. They have been terrible the entire ALDS, as No. 3 hitter Chris Davis is 4-for-16 with 5 Ks, cleanup hitter Adam Jones is 2-for-19 with 4 Ks, No. 5 hitter Matt Wieters is 2-for-17, usual No. 6 hitter Jim Thome is 1-for-12 with 4 Ks and No. 7 hitter Mark Reynolds is 3-for-16 with 6 Ks. Thats a combined 12-for-80 (.150 BA) from the 2-through-7 hitters. However, other than closer Jim Johnson (5 ER in 4.1 IP), the rest of the Baltimore bullpen has been outstanding this series with a combined pitching line of: 13 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 13 Ks.
Sabathia (16-6, 3.32 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) has led his team to four straight wins, going 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 35 Ks in 32.2 innings during this span. That includes a near complete game in Baltimore in Game 1 when he lasted 8.2 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, one walk and seven strikeouts. That makes him 6-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 postseason starts with the Yankees. Sabathia has been even better at home this year, going 7-4 with a 2.69 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .199 opponents BA and 104 Ks in 97 IP. Several Yankees sluggers have also been silenced for this series. Alex Rodriguez is 2-for-16 with 9 Ks, Curtis Granderson is 1-for-16 with 9 Ks, Robinson Cano is 2-for-18 and Nick Swisher is 2-for-15 in the ALDS. However, just like Baltimore, New Yorks bullpen has been phenomenal all series, combining for a 0.79 ERA, 0.55 WHIP and 10 Ks in 11.1 innings.