The 2012 season is well underway and I have two picks for Tuesday.
5* graded play on Baltimore as they take on the New York Yankees set to start at 7:05 PM ET.
The New York Yankees got their first win after starting out the season 0-3 in a 6-2 win at baltimore Monday. Had they lost that game, it would have marked only the fourth time in franchise history that the Yankees would have started a season 0-4 and the first since 1973. They continue to rack up wins against the Orioles having gone 40-15 and 19-9 at Camden Yards since the 2009 season. However, these trends are only a history lesson of sorts and Baltimore has the best team assembled since the 2009 season. I also believe this will be the first time since 1997, that the Orioles will win a season series against the Yankees.
The Yankees will have Freddie Garcia on the hill and despite having a solid 2011 season, he had not earned a spot in the rotation until Michael Pineda suffered a significant shoulder injury. Garcia is a 13-year veteran with an impressive 145-95 record, 4.09 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and has recorded 1486 strikeouts spanning 2076 innings pitched in his career.
He does not have a strong fastball at this point in his career and batters hit .328 on that pitch in 2011. He is a crafty pitcher though with four other pitches he can throw as setup pitches to get outs. However, Baltimore has a some very strong hitters, who will be patient enough to look for first fastball thrown to attack. I strongly believe Baltimore will be successful using this type of hitting approach.
Chen had ERA’s under 3.00 in three consecutive seasons in the Japanese League before signing with the Orioles this past winter. He has excellent command and walked 31 batters in 164 innings of work last season. There was concern from scouts that his fastball had lost several MPH and he was lacking speed, but not movement in Spring Training appearances. His command of the strike zone and being able to move pitches around the strike zone will be successful against the Yankees. Moreover, the Yankees have never faced him so this is a huge advantage for Chen in this start.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has the team heading in the right direction. He is also an outstanding 31-16 making 25.1 units per one unit wagered against the money line after two or more consecutive UNDER’s as the manager of the Orioles.
Arizona will look to go 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, but I obviously think that historic start will have to wait till next season. That’s not to say the Diamondbacks are a good team. They are a strong team and one that can certainly contend in the National League West. San Diego, as has been the case for several seasons, will have strong pitching, but the offense will be the problem for them to be a contending team. However, in this matchup alone, I like San Diego to get the win.
Cahill will make his National League debut after being acquired by the Diamondbacks from Oakland. In 2010, Cahill was a resounding success story, earning 18 wins, but lost command of the strike zone in 2011 and went just 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA. Cahill will continue to struggle with command as he makes the transition to the National League. It is far easier for starting pitchers to move from the AL to the NL for the simple fact that there is no designated hitter assigned for the pitcher. The difficult part of the transition, is facing NL hitters for the first time and it generally takes about four starts to get accustomed to the NL brand of baseball.
Volquez is making his second start of the season and lost his opening day start 5-3 to the Dodgers. He held the Dodgers to just three hits, but the Dodgers benefitted from an error and a timely hit to score three runs, two earned runs, off of Volquez. He has allowed a solid .238 batting average with just one home run spanning 63 at-bats to the current members of the Diamondbacks. I fully expect Volquez to pitch well in this game and complete more than six innings of work.
Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a record of 38-17 making 22.2 units per one unit wagered since 1997. Play against any team after three straight wins by two runs or less and facing an opponent after a win by four runs or more.
Take San Diego as a 5* graded play in your MLB picks.