No team has been a more welcome surprise than the Baltimore Orioles this year. Finishing at 93-69, they kept pace with the NY Yankees all season (6pm ET, today).
The race for the division came down to the last game and ultimately the Yankees, with a 95-67 record pulled just ahead of Baltimore for the AL East title.
While that initially seemed important, the Orioles were unfazed. Despite not winning the division, they went on to beat the Texas Rangers in Arlington to win the AL wildcard and subsequently book themselves a five game series against their rivals, the Yankees.
There is no doubt this will be an interesting and intriguing series but there are certain factors that each team will want to be aware of. For the Orioles, it is an initial disadvantage. Due to having to play the wildcard game, they were forced to use their top pitcher Joe Saunders. Saunders will not be available in game one of the ALDS and instead Baltimore will turn to Jason Hammel. Hammel proved to be a nice shot in the arm for the Orioles as he posted an 8-6 record with 113 strikeouts and a 3.43 ERA.
Starting for the Yankees is playoff ace and all-star pitcher, C.C. Sabathia. Although he did pitch to Cy Young stats like he did just a few seasons ago, Sabathia is still a force to be reckoned with. In 2012, he posted a 15-6 record with 197 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA.
In the past it was simple to just write this game off as a Yankees win, but the Orioles proved this season, that they are for real. For this reason, the series will likely go the full five games. Focused on game one however, the best bet is to take the home team to win game one.
C.C. Sabathia vs. the Baltimore Orioles Offense
Sabathia is one of the best workhorses in the game and once again, the Yanks will turn to him to get them off to the coveted 1-0 series lead.
After an almost surreal series that saw him give up multiple home runs to right handed batters against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sabathia made the decision not to resign with the Milwaukee Brewers. Like so many athletes before him, Sabathia took the big money and the big contract to have the opportunity to put on the classic pinstripes.
Since signing with the Yankees in 2009, Sabathia has been their dominant force on the pitching staff. In the regular season, he has a record of 74-29 and in the postseason, he is even better, having lost just one game in ten starts. In ’09, he pitched to a 3-1 record in the playoffs and helped secure the Yankees their 27th World Series Championship in franchise history.
Despite his playoff excellence, Sabathia struggled this season when it came to beating the teams in the Yankees’ division. The Orioles especially, with their revamped and home run hitting offense, gave Sabathia some trouble. The Yanks ace started three games against Baltimore, losing two and receiving a no decision in the third. His ERA against the Orioles was 6.38, the worst he had all season against an individual team.
Jason Hammel vs. the NY Yankees Offense
Coming off a solid season in 2012, Jason Hammel, in just his sixth year in the league, will be making his postseason return after pitching just one game for the Colorado Rockies in 2009. Hammel lasted only 3.2 innings in that game and gave up four runs while walking three. Hammel will look to rebound from that loss as he now plays in the biggest game of his career.
Luckily for the Orioles’ righty, he is facing a team that hasn’t caused him much of a problem this season. In three games against the Yankees, Hammel pitched decently. He lost one game and received no decisions in the other two but at the same time, he allowed an ERA of just 3.94 against this team that finished the season with the one of the league’s best offenses.
Hammel, who will be making his tenth start at Camden Yards, the site of game one, has enjoyed a relatively good record at home this year as he is 4-2 with a 3.44 ERA in games he has started in Baltimore. Most importantly however may be how well he has pitched as of late. He has an ERA of 2.08 in September and 3.09 post All-Star break.
While the edge in the pitching match-up does look to favor Sabathia, Hammel can hold his own. It is noteworthy too that Sabathia has given up 22 home runs this year and the Orioles as a team are the second best in the league when it comes to hitting the long ball.
Stats Worthy of Mentioning
- The Yankees average five runs a game and the Orioles average 4.4. The Yankees also lead in runs allowed as they average just 4.1 to the Orioles 4.4. Their team ERA is four tenths of a point less at 3.86 to the Orioles 3.90.
- The Yankee offense has been very proficient when it comes to getting on base. In addition to working out on average 3.5 walks a game, second best in the major leagues, the Yankees also have the second best on base percentage at .337.
- The Orioles this season had one of the best bullpens in the American League resulting in the team winning nearly all of their one run games. They boasted the best closer in all of baseball in righty Jim Johnson who had a 2-1 record, 2.49 ERA, 41 strikeouts and just 15 walks. He saved 51 games in 54 opportunities.
Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Betting Picks
Just in making the playoffs in the competitive American League, the Orioles shocked the baseball world. They continued this Cinderella story when they took out the Texas Rangers, one of the best offenses in all of baseball.
Against the Yankees and in a five game series it will be tougher for the Orioles to make an impact. That said, they went 47-34 at home this season and with game one being played in Baltimore, the advantage has to go to the Orioles.
- At +149 with BetOnline Sportsbook on the moneyline (+145 Bovada) take the Orioles to continue to shock the baseball world by beating the Yankees.