The New York Post's back page screamed it all on Wednesday: "Tankees".
Leave it to the Post's headline writers to sum up the freefall of the New York Yankees. They had a 10-game lead in the American League East on July 18 but officially were caught by the surging Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. And the Tampa Bay Rays are right there as well. Could New York somehow miss the playoffs entirely? The Yanks and Red Sox both haven't missed the postseason since 1993. Obviously Boston won't be going in 2012.
Open a betting account at Bovada and grab an instant 50% Free Bet bonus on your first deposit.
The Orioles, meanwhile, haven't been to the postseason since 1997 and when they caught the Yankees it was the latest in the season they had been atop the AL East since September '97. How long ago was that? Baltimore was led that season by the likes of Cal Ripken, Roberto Alomar and Rafael Palmeiro. Ripken has been in the Hall of Fame for five years and Alomar entered in 2011. Palmeiro likely will never get in because of his steroid issues.
Easily the series of the weekend in MLB is a four-game set at Camden Yards between the Birds and Yankees that starts Thursday, and Bovada will have live play-by-play betting for the first two games at the book.
Is Baltimore for real? The Orioles are the only team with a winning record to have a negative run differential. They lead the American League in errors and are slightly below the middle of the pack in the league in most offensive categories other than home runs. But Baltimore is a ridiculous 24-7 in one-run games entering Wednesday's series finale Toronto, easily the best mark in MLB. By comparison, the Yankees are 17-20.
Bovada oddsmakers still aren't sold. Baltimore remains the co-longest shot betting option to win the AL pennant at 10/1 with the L.A. Angels, and at 20/1 to win the World Series, the co-longest odds of any AL team with Oakland. New York, meanwhile, is down to 3/1 to win the pennant and 6/1 to win the Fall Classic, both behind Texas.
As for this weekend's series, the Birds will still open as slight underdogs for those first three games (it helps that New York has ace CC Sabathia going Saturday). The teams have split 14 games so far, with New York holding a 4-1 advantage at Camden Yards.
New York will open around -110 for Game 1 Thursday night, with David Phelps (3-4, 3.13) opposing Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.54). Phelps has faced Baltimore once as a starter in 2012 and that was last Saturday, allowing three runs and six hits in 4.2 innings in a no-decision. Hammel is set to return from the disabled list and make his first start since July 13. He is 0-1 with a 4.90 ERA in two starts vs. New York this season but was easily Baltimore's best pitcher before going down. In Friday's Game 2, New York is schedule to send Phil Hughes (13-12, 4.18) vs. lefty Wei-Yin Chen (12-8, 3.79). Hughes lost Sunday vs. Baltimore, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings. He is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA vs. the Orioles this year, all at Yankee Stadium. Chen was pushed back an extra day for rest as he was originally scheduled to go Thursday. The rookie is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts vs. New York this season. The Yankees are hitting only around .235 vs. lefty pitching since the All-Star Break, which is more than 20 points below the MLB average.
Non Yankees-Orioles Live Betting Games
The other live MLB betting options this weekend are: Tigers at Angels (Friday), Marlins at Nationals and Braves at Mets (Saturday), and A's at Mariners and Dodgers at Giants (Sunday).
The hottest pitcher in baseball is scheduled to go for Atlanta in that Saturday matinee at Citi Field. The pitcher in question would be young Kris Medlen (7-1, 1.56). The right-hander had the audacity to allow a run in Monday's win over Colorado. That ended Medlen's scoreless inning streak at 34.2. But Medlen struck out a career-high 12 Rockies in the complete game and the run was unearned, so he still hasn't allowed an earned run in 36.1 innings. The Braves have won his past 18 starts, the longest by an MLB team since the Yankees won 20 straight Roger Clemens starts in 2001.
The irony isn't likely lost on Nationals backers that Medlen is on an innings limit much as Nats ace Stephen Strasburg is because Medlen is also returning from elbow surgery. But the Braves began the season with Medlen in the bullpen so he's at only 104 innings this season. So even if Medlen is on a Strasburg-type limit of 160-170, Medlen will still be available in the playoffs. Strasburg, who started the season in the rotation, won't be as he will be shut down for the season after his Sept. 12 start.
Atlanta won't catch Washington for the NL East title, but the Braves having Medlen and Washington not having Strasburg could certainly determine a potential playoff series between the two.
Hit it to the limit. Go all the way and bet on every swing with MLB Live Betting at Bovada. Raise Your Game.