MLB Playoff Picks ALDS: Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles (2-2) and New York Yankees (2-2) will play Game 5 of their 2012 American League Division Series on Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 5:07 ET on TBS

Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees   

The New York Yankees have won 13 of their last 16 games against the Baltimore Orioles with CC Sabathia on the mound

Baltimore has pushed this series between AL East rivals to the brink in the 2012 MLB postseason, capturing a 2-1 extra-innings victory over New York on Thursday night.  “We had our backs up against the wall,” stated Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy.  “It was win or go home.”  The Orioles are struggling at the plate in this series, especially the Nos. 2-7 hitters last night, going a combined 3-for-29 with nine strikeouts in the first 12 innings.  Hardy could play a major part in the outcome once again, as he’s gone 7 for 14 in his career against the Yankees ace in his career.  Baltimore is 6-2 in its last eight games as a road underdog.

Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.43 ERA) didn’t earn a decision in his earlier start in this series, allowing two runs and four hits over 5.2 frames.  The right-hander went 4-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 10 road outings this year, surrendering six home runs in 63 combined frames.  Hammel had made 14 career appearances (eight starts) against the Yankees before this series, posting a 1-3 record and 6.20 ERA, which includes a 2-1 road loss on April 30.

New York continues to falter with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-9 in that situation last night, while leaving 10 men on base.  The Yankees are still waiting to see if third baseman Alex Rodriguez is going to break out of his postseason slump, as he’s gone 2 for 16 with nine strikeouts in the series.  Captain Derek Jeter’s left foot injury is also a problem for the lineup, but manager Joe Girardi could place him in the designated-hitter spot for a second consecutive game.  New York is 5-0 after scoring two runs or less.

Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (15-6, 3.38 ERA) earned a 7-2 road victory in Game 1 of this series, allowing two runs and eight hits over 8.2 innings of work.  The left-hander went 7-4 with a 2.69 ERA in 13 home outings, with opposing hitters batting .199 against him.  In 11 playoff starts with the Bronx Bombers, Sabathia has tallied a 6-1 record and 3.29 ERA.

Sports bettors will likely back the Yankees due to their 13-3 record in Sabathia’s last 16 starts in this series, while the Orioles are 1-4 in Hammel’s last five efforts with a total of 7 to 8.5.

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