New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles Preview and Pick – Phil Hughes vs. Daniel Cabrera

New York Yankees (9-8) -140, o/u 10 at Baltimore Orioles (9-7) +130, 7:05 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of

AL East rivals meet for the first time this season when the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles kick off a three-game series Friday night in Crabtown.

Bookmakers are listing New York at right around -140 for Friday’s game, with Baltimore getting +120 as home dogs, and an over/under of 10.

The Yanks had a three-game winning streak snapped by a 7-5 loss to Boston Thursday, while the O’s broke a two-game losing streak with a 6-5 10-inning win over the White Sox. So going into this weekend’s action, Baltimore sits a half-game back of the Red Sox in the AL East, with New York just a half-game behind the Orioles.

The Yankees are 4-4 on the road this year, 7-10 vs. the run line and 8-4 when favored. On the other side of the ledger, Baltimore is 7-3 at home this season, 8-8 vs. the run line and 6-6 when dogged.

These two teams split their 18 regular-season meetings last year. And the totals went 11-7 in those18 games, as they averaged a healthy 11.9 total runs per.

Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00, 2.18 WHIP this year) is slated to pitch for New York Friday against Danny Cabrera (0-0, 5.94, 1.68 WHIP) for B-Town. The Yanks are 1-2 in Hughes’ starts this year, the o/u also 1-2, while the O’s are 3-0 in Cabrera’s starts, the totals 1-2.

Hughes got clipped for six ER and nine baserunners (hits + walks) in two-plus IP in an 8-5 loss to Boston Sunday. Last year, Hughes started twice vs. Baltimore, allowing four ER and 16 BR in 10 2/3 IP, as New York split the two outings.

Cabrera is coming off his best start of this season, when he gave up just one ER and eight BR in 6 2/3 innings of work in a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay Saturday. Last season, Cabrera started five games vs. the Yankees, giving up 20 ER and 49 BR in 27 IP. The Orioles lost four of those five games, and all five games went over their totals.

Offensively, New York has got things rolling a bit. The Yanks rank 16th in the majors in team OBP at .335, 8th in team slugging at .433 and are averaging 4.5 runs per game, and they’ve put up 38 runs in just their last five games. Yankee pitching, though, has allowed 34 runs over that same five-game span.

Baltimore ranks 20th in the league in OBP at .321, 15th in slugging at .407, and while averaging 4.3 RPG, the O’s have scored just 19 runs over their last six games.

Over its last five games, the New York bullpen has given up eight ER and 27 baserunners, covering 22 IP. On the other side of the field, the Baltimore pen has allowed nine ER and 25 baserunners over its last five games, covering 21 IP.

On the injury front, Yanks catcher Jorge Posada is questionable for Friday’s game with a sore arm.

The o/u is a surprising 5-12 in New York games this season, which are averaging 9.1 total runs per, while the totals are 6-10 in Orioles games, which are averaging 9.0 runs. And games played at Camden Yards last year averaged 10.5 totals runs per, which ranked as 6th-most among MLB stadiums.

Zman’s Pick: We’ve always been a big believer in fading Cabrera. The guy lacks the control necessary to beat a team like the Yankees who will take a ton of pitches and then get to face the bullpen. Yanks should win here if Hughes doesn’t show too much greenhorn.