Matchup: Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees

Date/Time: Friday, April 14, 2013 8:05 p.m. (ET)

Television: ESPN

Pitching: Orioles (Chen) Yankees (Kuroda)

MLB Odds: JustBet

Pointspread: Yankees (-140) Orioles (+130)

Total Line: 9

The Baltimore Orioles snuck up on everyone in the AL East last year, but the rest of the division should be ready for them this season. The Orioles and Yankees have split the first two games in this year, so this one will be the rubber match. Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN will be at Yankee Stadium for this one.

Game Overview:

Buck Showalter’s Orioles did it last year with great bullpen pitching and timely hitting. This year the pitching staff hasn’t started quite as well, but the offense has been much improved. A huge start from Chris Davis has been big for the Orioles offense. Davis leads the majors with 19 RBI’s so far this season. He was once a highly regarded prospect in Texas, but he never quite panned out for the Rangers. It seems like Davis is finally reaching his full potential. Manny Machado has been heating up over the last couple games, and he has the potential to be great.

Adam Jones was the breakout hitting star for the Orioles in 2012, and he has been red hot again so far this year. Jones is hitting .426 through the first couple weeks, and he has already scored 12 runs. Wei-Yin Chen had mixed levels of success against the Yankees last year, but he has been a good pickup for Baltimore overall. Jim Johnson is off to another amazing start as the team’s closer. Johnson has saved five games for the Orioles, and he has yet to give up an earned run.

It’s no secret that the New York Yankees have some serious injury problems right now. The Yankees are without Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and team leader Derek Jeter. So far the offense has done a great job still producing in a big way without their big thumpers in the lineup. Kevin Youkilis, Robinson Cano, Vernon Wells, and Travis Hafner are all off to a very hot start at the plate. New York is actually fourth in the majors with 17 home runs so far this year. The Yankees are averaging 5.7 runs per game so far this season. While the Yankees offense is short-handed, they are much better than most people realize right now.

Hiroki Kuroda will start for the Yankees in this one. Kuroda put together a brilliant 2012 season. The Yankees rotation has struggled so far this year, so New York really needs a good start from Kuroda to right the ship. The Yankees only have four quality starts this year, and the bullpen has already been getting used way too much. Kuroda’s job in this one will be to give the Yankees quite a few innings and give them a chance to win. New York has only committed four errors so far this year.

Free Pick: Yankees ML

The Yankees are 59-27 in their last 86 games against Baltimore. I like Kuroda’s consistency at Yankee Stadium. Look for the Yankees to win this series.