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Yankees at Orioles – Free Pick ALDS Game Two

New York Yankees -132 at Baltimore Orioles +124 (Total: 8) – ALDS Game Two

Andy Pettitte vs Wei-Yin Chen

Last night’s game in Baltimore was a lot closer than the final score.  Tied at 2-2 in the ninth, the Yankees rode a demoralizing leadoff homerun from Russell Martin to a five-run ninth to blow open the game and turn last night’s rain soaked affair into a disappointment for the O’s.  Tonight, less than twenty hours later they need to pick themselves up off the mat and topple the starter with more wins in the postseason than any other active pitcher, and ironically, the only active pitcher to have pitched a playoff game in Camden Yards (1997).

The Orioles will counter with Chen, who enters today with a pedestrian 12-11 record and even more pedestrian 4.02 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.  It’s a tough spot to make one’s first ever playoff start, down 1-0 to the vaunted Yankees throwing against a playoff pitcher nearly every big leaguer grew up watching in October.  However, the Orioles are going to need him to pitch well, far better than his last few outings, if they want to get back in this series.  He has allowed 17 runs in just 28 innings over his past five starts.  Odds are Shoewalter will have him on a pretty tight leash today, and let the Orioles sterling bullpen hold the rope.

An interesting stat; the Orioles were a major league best, and frankly staggering, 73-0 when leading after seven innings.  The problem is, can they get a seven-inning lead against this Yankee lineup? Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it tonight.  Chen faced the Yankees twice in September.  And it didn’t go so well… a pair of losses and ugly ones at that.   The Yankees tallied ten runs in just 11 1/3 innings pitched by Chen.  I think the same thing is in store again this evening…

Baltimore is a great story, and they are really easy to root for.  In fact, I think the sentimentality has a little to do with keeping this line as tight as it currently stands.  Pettitte versus Chen is a mismatch.  Offensively, the Yankees versus the Orioles is also mismatch.  Aside from unquantifiable “magic” there are no real reasons to bet on the Orioles.

So I am going to root with my baseball fan heart, “Go O’s” but wager with my statistical and analytical mind.  “Go Yankees.”  I’d recommend you do the same.  And remember, the Orioles are amazing in one run games.  Fortunately for the Yankees, I don’t think this is going to be one.

Free Pick:  New York Yankees to WIN -132 & New York Yankees -1.5 (+130)