Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Get ready for a heavy helping of Yankees/Orioles baseball! The three-game set between New York and Baltimore that starts Monday Night will dominate the national airwaves.
Monday Night Baseball on ESPN
Tuesday Night on the MLB Network
Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN
Hey guys…there are other teams in the sport besides the Yankees! Washington visiting the San Francisco Giants might be an NLCS preview! The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in the NL right now, continuing years of excellence. We can’t gripe about the Texas Rangers because they were on the Sunday Night game. Still…pull your heads out of the East ESPN!
The good news for fans and sports bettors is that Yankees/Orioles is shaping up as a very exciting series. The Yankees lead the AL East despite dealing with injuries all season. Baltimore was a playoff team last year, and would be leading the division right now if they could get any pitching. You can’t gripe about national TV cameras visiting the series. But…THREE STRAIGHT NIGHTS!
Let’s check out the pitching matchups to see if we can find any handicapping edges.
New York…Sabathia: 4-3, 3.19 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Baltimore… Garcia: 0-2, 5.51 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Sabathia was supposed to go Sunday, but the Yanks home game with Toronto was rained out…pushing him into the prime time TV spot. He hasn’t exactly been vintage C.C. this year given that WHIP. But, he’s still one of the most intimidating forces in the league.
Nothing tells you more about Baltimore’s pitching woes than the fact that Freddy Garcia is in the rotation. You have to be desperate to gamble with a 36-year-old who doesn’t get strikeouts. You have to be even MORE desperate to keep sending him to the mound with that 5.51 ERA.
Clear edge there for the Yankees, who are hoping to solidify their hold on first place in the AL East with at least two victories in this series.
New York…Hughes: 2-3, 5.88 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
Baltimore … Gonzalez: 2-2, 4.58 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
Hughes was humming along well until his last two starts. He struggled badly on the road at Kansas City. Then, he was the guy on the mound when Seattle scored seven runs in the top of the first in the Bronx last week. That will kill your stats! He’s not as bad as those numbers suggest in the big picture. But, his last two outings might be suggesting that something is physically wrong. (Note that Vidal Nuno was originally scheduled to go here before Sunday’s rainout. We’re guessing Hughes will get pushed back from Monday and Nuno will miss out on this spot turn. If Nuno does get the call, note that he’s a 5’11” lefthander who had a decent outing vs. the Indians in last week’s doubleheader make-up)
Gonzalez actually grades out as a bright spot on the staff with those mediocre numbers. He’s more seasoned than Nuno, but that seasoning has settled in as a “generic” AL pitcher right now. The Yanks have been scoring against that caliber.
New York …Kuroda: 6-2, 1.99 ERA, 0.95 WHIP
Baltimore … Hammel: 5-2, 5.72 ERA, 1.57 WHIP
Kuroda’s the only quality pitcher in solid form right now that will be taking the mound in this series. Once again he’s giving the Yanks ace caliber performances while everyone raves about either C.C. Sabathia or the surprising unheralded offense. That’s kept Hiroki as a value pitcher for several months. He shut out the Orioles the last time he faced them. How can a star pitcher stay off the radar in New York?!
It’s a tribute to Baltimore’s offense that Hammel can have a 5-2 won-lost record with those lousy numbers. Big edge to Kuroda here based on those numbers.
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Back with you Tuesday to talk about Game Two of the Western Conference Finals matching the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. Wednesday we’ll preview the Eastern Conference Championship that finally gets underway with the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.
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