Looking to even up a crucial AL East matchup, the Baltimore Orioles (46-46, 19-28 Away) are turning the ball over to Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.00 ERA), hoping for another dominant outing against the New York Yankees (51-41, 28-17 Home) tonight at Yankee Stadium (7:05 PM Eastern).
After starting the year in the bullpen, then spending time on the DL, Gausman returned to the starting rotation last month to mixed results. In an attempt to get his pitch count up, he spent the All-Star Break in Triple-A. His call-up leaves the Orioles with a tough decision on which roster player gets sent through waivers: Nolan Reimold, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, and David Lough are just a few options.
But it will be worth it if Gausman can show the form he had last season. The 6’3″ righty was just 7-7 with a 3.57 ERA on the year, but that included three starts against the Pinstripes where he went 17 innings, struck out 14, and surrendered just three earned runs.
Hitting the bump for the Yankees is right-hander Ivan Nova (1-3, 3.42 ERA), who has made just four starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, each one progressively worse than the other. In his last start against Boston, he gave up eight hits and four earned runs over 6.2 innings. Nova holds a career 5.12 ERA against the O’s, and has been hit hard by Matt Weiters (11 for 31, 4 HRs) and Chris Davis (8 for 24, 3 HRs).
In the pen, both closer Andrew Miller and set-up-man Dellin Betances worked three of the last four games for the Yanks. Nova hasn’t thrown over 92 pitches in a game this season, so the Yankees relievers may be called upon early.
The Yankees pulled out a 3-2 victory in Game 1 after second baseman Brendan Ryan hit an RBI double in the sixth to take a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Stephen Drew will take his spot at second base back tonight, despite hitting a dismal .181 on the year.
The O’s are 5-6 against the Yankees on the year, although the Big Apple hasn’t been kind, with Baltimore just 1-4 in the Bronx. That said, this game could shape up to be a battle of bullpen strength, and the Orioles hold the better reliever ERA (2.83 to 3.32). Take Baltimore as the slight underdog.
Pick: Baltimore (+109)
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Matt Wieters”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)