The Baltimore Orioles play host to the New York Yankees for the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday night from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Yankees won the opener on Tuesday in convincing fashion, 7-2. On the backs of five home runs as a team and a dominant start by Gerrit Cole, New York was able to keep pace with their fellow AL East competitors in the AL Wild Card race. For the Orioles, Tuesday night only represented yet another chapter of what has been one of the more disappointing seasons in baseball this year. Across 19 meetings between the two teams this season, the series has been far closer than most would expect it to be, with the Yankees taking ten of those games. Even with nearly 35 games separating the two teams in the standings, fans can still expect a tight one based on how little has separated these two on the season. The Orioles are looking to coast to the finish line, while the Yankees have quite a bit more on the line, making for an exciting mid-week tilt.
Yankees In Wild Card RaceThe Yankees have had one of the most up and down summers in baseball and a series with Baltimore has come just at the right time. The Yankees, even with their own struggles against the Orioles this season, entered riding one of their coldest streaks of the season, only to find themselves back in the win column in back-to-back games. They continue to sit right with the Blue Jays and Red Sox in the AL Wild Card standings and know that any game against Baltimore is a crucial opportunity to make up ground or extend their lead in the standings, depending on the night. Even at only 3-7 in their last ten games, they'll still be heavy favorites to clinch the series against Baltimore on Wednesday night. Injuries also continue to plague New York. Miguel Andujar (wrist), Clint Frazier (eye), and Aaron Hicks (wrist) remain typical starters who are out for the season, while a handful of other pitchers will at least not be available for Wednesday night.
The Honorable Judge 👨⚖️ pic.twitter.com/huTtHnkv78— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 14, 2021
New York's offense, despite all the big names, continues to be an area of frustration for the visiting team Wednesday. They rank only 23rd in baseball in batting average and hits per game while ranking eighth in home runs per game and relying on the long ball, which has been a massive advantage. The Yankees wasted no time in showing that to be the case in the opener, hitting five home runs as a team on Tuesday. Over the last week, four Yankees have double-digit home runs, with Aaron Judge leading the way with three. Add in Brett Gardner (.308), Giancarlo Stanton (.320), and D.J. LeMahieu (.304), all hitting over .300 over that same time frame, the Yankees are starting to see a little more consistency out of their lineup. Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo continue to be two bats to keep an eye on in the lineup, as when those two play well, the Yankees are nearly impossible for opposing teams to keep pace with.
According to MLB.com, Nestor Cortes Jr. is slated to get the start for the Yankees. The lefty has a 2-2 record on the season but an impressive 2.70 ERA and has been a workhorse for the rotation over the last few months. He's already seen Baltimore once this season, grabbing the start against them on September 3rd. In that one, he went 5.2 innings, allowing four hits and one run, while striking out seven, in what ended up being one of his best outings of the season. The question remains if he can have the consistency to replicate that performance on Wednesday night but Yankees fans will be happy to see his reliable arm out there.
Orioles Looking To Play SpoilerThe Orioles have only seemed to find success against the Yankees this season, especially at home, and are hoping that Wednesday sees that nice run continue. Against New York, the Orioles are 10-9 on the season, while against the rest of Major League Baseball, they are 36-89. Injuries haven't been the kindest to the team on the year, though that shouldn't let anyone's imagination run into thinking that they'd be a contender otherwise. The Orioles remain a team with a murky future going forward but finishing off September strong could set the tone for the offseason and some moves to ensure a much stronger season in 2022. Baltimore will be without three starters and three relievers, while Trey Mancini (abdominal) remains the biggest absence to the lineup potentially. He is questionable to go on Wednesday and if he can, this Baltimore lineup will look quite a bit more dangerous than usual.
Trey Mancini is the Orioles’ 2021 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award 👏 pic.twitter.com/KrjX14ZccO— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 14, 2021
Though Baltimore has seemed to find weak points all across the field and on both sides of the ball, the offense has actually improved of late. They've moved up to 16th in batting average and 15th in hits per game and home runs per game. The offense has allowed them to stay in games, especially against the Yankees, but the lack of depth behind some of their bigger bats continues to be an area of concern. Over the last week, Anthony Santander is the only Oriole hitting above .300, sitting on a team-best .360 over that same time frame. Add in four players (Ryan Mountcastle, Austin hayes, Santander, and Cedric Mullins) all with three home runs over the last six or seven games, and the power could be a major factor against New York.
According to MLB.com, John means will get the start for Baltimore. The lefty is 5-7 with a 3.42 ERA on the season in 22 starts. He's also already seen the Yankees twice. The first was a start in Aril and the second one being a September start only a few weeks ago. Across the two, he's combined for 9.2 innings of work, allowing three earned runs, and looking like he could be a key piece to the rotation going forward. The Yankees might have some trouble figuring him out early but Means will need to be tough-as-nails to come away with the win on Wednesday.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Yankees have had their fair share of struggles against the Orioles this season but many of those issues came early in the year. The Yankees, while struggling over the last few weeks, are still a far better team than the early season would show and will have a great chance to find another win against the Orioles. New York's offense is predicated on the long ball and they showed that on Tuesday with five home runs as a team. A similar performance by the offense would be devastating for the Orioles given their lack of star power. The pitching matchup should be interesting, but Cortes Jr. has been locked in of late and the lefty should be able to give fits for this Baltimore offense. Add in the pressure that New York will be able to balance given how the playoff stretch is going, and the Yankees won't let an opportunity against one of the worst teams in baseball go to waste.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Yankees offense is too talented for Baltimore to keep them at bay, even with Means facing off against Cortes Jr. The five home runs on Tuesday is a sign of just how dangerous this team can be and while the under was the result in that game, the Yankees can be expected to be much more lethal with their at-bats on Wednesday night. The Orioles could also welcome back their best bat in Trey Mancini, which would do wonders for their offense. Additionally, according to covers.com, for New York, the over is 5-1 in their last six games overall and 6-1 in their last six games on grass. For the Orioles, the over is 3-1-1 in their last five games overall and on grass. In meeting between the two teams, the over is 30-11-1 in the last 42 meetings in Baltimore and 58-24-1 in the last 83 meetings overall.