MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

Date/Time: July 22, 7:00 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.00) vs. Ivan Nova (1-3, 3.42)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: New York -120

Total: 8.5

The first game in this key AL East series went to the division leader. The New York Yankees extended their lead with a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night as Nate Eovaldi and the Yankees bullpen outpitched Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles bullpen. Wednesday’s game has some very interesting storylines, including a couple of pitchers that have a lot of upside throughout the rest of the season. Ivan Nova and Kevin Gausman are the scheduled starters for the second act in the Bronx.

The fountain of youth has been extremely kind to the Yankees this season. Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and Alex Rodriguez have combined for 64 home runs and the Yankees have one of the league’s top offenses, even with Jacoby Ellsbury on the shelf for the majority of the first half. Joe Girardi doesn’t get enough respect for the job that he does with this team because of the astronomical payroll, but the Yankees are in a good position at this stage of the season.

The Orioles just can’t find a groove this season. They went from 23-29 to 41-34 in a hurry and then hit the All-Star Break at 44-44 after losing 10 of 13. After a big series win in Detroit that made it look like the team was ready to turn the corner, they dropped the first game of this series and failed to hit. The Orioles have now been held to two runs or less in 31 games this season and they have only won two of those games. Last season, the Orioles managed to win 10 of the 50 games in which they scored two runs or less.

Games in mid-July aren’t exactly full of pressure, but there’s quite a bit of pressure on Kevin Gausman in this start. As a supporter of Gausman, it’s been frustrating to see how the Orioles have handled him. Gausman has only made four starts for the big league club, with eight additional relief appearances, and has made six starts spanning three different minor league levels. Gausman is already restricted by Baltimore’s unwillingness to let pitchers throw cutters. Gausman showed a lot of promise in spite of a low strikeout rate in 2014 with a 3.57 ERA, 3.41 FIP, and 3.93 xFIP over 113.1 innings of work.

This season, Gausman has a 5.00 ERA while being bounced around from the bullpen and the starting rotation. Gausman shows a good fastball and a good splitter. Even though his third pitch hasn’t developed like the organization wanted, their treatment of him and his upside is disturbing, especially on a team with below average starting pitching. That makes every start a tough one for Gausman, as he is constantly trying to prove himself while dealing with an inconsistent workload.

Ivan Nova doesn’t take the mound with expectations or pressure. Nova will be making just his fifth Major League start since returning from Tommy John surgery. The control and command are still works in progress, but throwing the ball and staying healthy is about all that Nova is supposed to do at this point. Over 23.2 innings, Nova has a 3.42 ERA thanks to some good sequencing, but, more importantly, the velocity is back and the tools are there for Nova to be effective.

MLB Prediction: New York Yankees

This line looks off by about 10-to-15 cents. Nova has had some bumps in the road, but they pale in comparison to what Gausman has dealt with, especially with no injury rehab present. Nova should get stronger every time out and it’s hard to say that the same thing with happen with Gausman. The Orioles should trade him and let him blossom somewhere else, just like the career path of Jake Arrieta.