MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

Date/Time: July 21, 7:05 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Wei-Yin Chen (4-5, 2.78) vs. Nate Eovaldi (9-2, 4.50)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: New York -120

Total: 8

A big American League East Division showdown begins on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium when the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees renew pleasantries. The series opener will feature left-hander Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles and hard-throwing righty Nate Eovaldi for the Yankees. The Orioles begin this series trailing by four games in the division and by 3.5 games for the second wild card spot. The Yankees have won 12 of their last 20 to open up the four game lead in the AL East and became the first AL East team to 50 wins by beating Felix Hernandez on Sunday. The Yankees are a small home favorite in one.

The Orioles and Yankees have split their 10 meetings so far this season and it will be interesting to see how much their remaining nine matchups affect the AL East race. The Orioles have outscored the Yankees by 11 runs in those 10 meetings, but some blowout wins skew the overall numbers. After this Tuesday-Thursday set, the Orioles and Yankees won’t face each other again until Labor Day, so a lot of things will happen between now and then.

This series is big for both teams for different reasons. The Orioles have struggled to consistently put it together this season. They lost 11 of 14 before winning the final two games in Detroit this past weekend. That losing stretch came on the heels of a 17-5 stretch from early June until the last week of the month. The Yankees, on the other hand, need to put as much distance as they can between themselves and the rest of the pack. They are an older team that has been reliant on power from players like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Who knows how long those guys will hold up.

Wei-Yin Chen will have to be sharp in this one if he wants to shut down the Yankees. The Yankees enter this game with the fifth-ranked wOBA against lefties in all of baseball and own the fourth-best OPS against southpaws. Chen has been extremely good this season, even though the Orioles exploited his contract situation to send him down to Single-A and keep him from pitching against the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this season. It’s easy to forget that this is just Chen’s fourth season in the Major Leagues. He owns a 2.78 ERA with a 4.19 FIP and a 3.82 xFIP. He has sequenced well, stranding 83.7 percent of his runners. Between a .255 BABIP against and an outlier for a LOB%, it’s easy to see why the advanced metrics suggest regression.

Even though he’s carrying a 4.50 ERA into this start, Nate Eovaldi has been on the right side of the decision more often than not. In 18 starts, Eovaldi is 9-2 with some strong peripherals. He has a 3.53 FIP and a 3.70 xFIP, which are certainly good enough in the American League. One really bad start has skewed Eovaldi’s numbers a bit. He gave up eight runs on nine hits in 0.2 innings of work against Miami back on June 16. Another issue for Eovaldi is that he hasn’t worked deep into games. Even taking that bad Marlins start out of the equation, he has averaged less than six innings per start.

MLB Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

Even though there are some signs of regression in Chen’s profile, this line certainly tells us a story. The Yankees are a small favorite with a pitcher that has thrown the ball pretty well and the market has been coming in on pitchers with higher ERAs than FIP and xFIP this season. Also, the Yankees have had quite a bit of success offensively against lefties. Chen’s home run problem is a concern here, but so is Eovaldi’s lack of swing-and-miss stuff against a productive lineup.