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Orioles Visit Yankees; AL East Preview

Matt Wieters and the Baltimore Orioles will look for a repeat of last weekend's sweep when they face the Yankees.

Matt Wieters and the Baltimore Orioles will look for a repeat of last weekend’s sweep of the Yankees.

The Baltimore Orioles travel to The Bronx on Friday for the first of three games against division rivals the New York Yankees.

The Yankee Stadium showdown comes just one week after the Orioles swept a three-game set down I-95 at Camden Yards to take a 6-3 advantage in the season head-to-head. With both clubs chasing the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, this series could prove pivotal as we approach the All-Star break.

20130704_ALEastBaltimore (48-38, 23-21 road) arrives in town on the back of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. The Independence Day defeat – which was capped by Adam Dunn’s walk-off homer – meant the Orioles lost the series too, falling 2-1. The O’s are now 6-7 in their last 13 and 4 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in first place.

New York (46-39, 23-18 home) meanwhile couldn’t have wished for a better Fourth of July. The Yankees thumped the Minnesota Twins 9-5 to sweep the four-game series at Target Field, and returned to The Bronx for a 10-game home stretch ahead of the All-Star break.

Those four wins will go some way to making up for an impoverished June, a month in which the club went 11-16 overall but a shocking 5-13 from June 11 to month’s end. The month was closed out by that three-game sweep in Baltimore.

Both teams will be looking to record a series win this weekend, hoping to reduce Boston’s lead at the top of the division. With the Red Sox out west until the All-Star break, there is ground to be gained.

Robinson Cano and the Yankees will look to get the better of Miguel Gonzalez.

Robinson Cano will look to get the better of Miguel Gonzalez.

The Yankees will send Ivan Nova (2-2, 4.63 ERA) to the mound on Friday night, replacing the day-to-day Hiroki Kuroda (hip). Nova’s season has been marred by injuries, which led to a stint at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last month. The right-hander is 0-1 in his only start since returning to the majors, a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. His last appearance came in last Saturday’s 11-3 loss in Baltimore. Nova yielded two runs on six hits after replacing David Phelps in the third inning with the score at 9-0.

The Orioles will start Miguel Gonzalez (6-3, 3.77 ERA), who has recorded 10 quality starts in his 14 outings. After compiling a 2-2 record in his first nine starts, the right-hander has gone 4-1 since. However, the Guadalajara native is 0-1 in two starts against the Yankees this season, having allowed five runs on 10 hits across the two games.

Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees odds for 7/5/13 are available now.

The Yankees (-108) opened as the favorite over Baltimore (-102) for Friday night’s game but bookmakers have flipped the odds and now the Orioles are favored. Bookmaker has the O’s at -122 compared to the Yankees at +102.

The change in heart has no doubt come from a flux of bettors taking the Orioles in the wake of their series sweep of the Yankees last weekend. Baltimore is 6-3 against New York so far this season.

The over/under opened at 10 but has slipped to 9 of late. With much of its offense on the DL, the Yankees (34-45-6) have unsurprisingly favored the under this season. Baltimore (41-41-4) meanwhile has split the over/under evenly.

Saturday’s game (1:05 p.m. ET) will pit Andy Pettitte (5-6, 4.40 ERA) against Chris Tillman (10-2, 3.68 ERA) while Sunday (1:05 p.m. ET) will see Phil Hughes (4-7, 4.55 ERA) face Jason Hammel (7-5, 5.19 ERA).

AL East Roundup

The AL East’s other big matchup this weekend sees division-leading Boston (53-34, 22-18 road) head out west to take on the Los Angeles Angels (41-44, 22-24 home). Friday night’s game (10:05 p.m. ET) will be the first of a 10-game West Coast swing that takes the Red Sox to the All-Star break.

Dustin Pedroia will look to lead Boston to victory.

Dustin Pedroia will look to lead Boston to victory out west.

The Sox arrive in Orange County having swept the San Diego Padres in a three-game series this past week. John Farrell’s side has won eight-of-nine all-told. That being said, the club is 3-7 in its last 10 road games.

The Angels meanwhile have won seven-of-eight in a stretch that has seen a three-game sweep of the World Series favorite Detroit Tigers and a 2-1 series win over the National League favorite St. Louis Cardinals this past week. This series looks like a dandy.

Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels odds for 7/5/13 are available now.

The Angels (-158) open as the favorite over Boston (+148) heading into Friday’s opener. C. J. Wilson (8-5, 3.63 ERA) will start for the Angels, while Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.22 ERA) takes the mound for the Sox.

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Mark Buehrle will be on the mound for the Jays Friday night.

Mark Buehrle will be on the mound for the Jays Friday night.

Since having an 11-game winning streak snapped on June 24, the Toronto Blue Jays (41-44, 23-20 home) have struggled to a 3-8 record. Whilst it’s not quite time to hit the panic button (again), the Jays are in need of a series win or two.

The club will get the chance as it welcomes the Minnesota Twins (36-46, 15-23 road) to Rogers Centre this weekend. After being swept by the Yankees this week, the Twins have lost 10 of the last 13 games and are watching their stock fall fast. Like the Jays, the Twins need to win now.

Minnesota Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays odds for 7/5/13 are available now.

Toronto (-171) opens as the favorite at home, with few expecting much from the Twins (+161). The home side will send Mark Buehrle (4-5, 4.81 ERA) to the mound on Friday, while Minnesota will counter with Kevin Correia (6-5, 4.08 ERA).

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Evan Longoria and the Rays host the White Sox this weekend.

Evan Longoria and the Rays host the White Sox this weekend.

Winners of eight of the last 11, the Tampa Bay Rays (46-40, 25-18 home) have the chance to reduce a 6 1/2 game deficit on the Boston Red Sox this weekend as the club hosts the Chicago White Sox (34-48, 15-28 road).

The Sox are festering at the bottom of the AL Central following a huge drop off from last season and with 17 losses in their last 23 games, it doesn’t look like things are about to change anytime soon.

The Rays are coming off a 3-1 series win over the hapless Houston Astros, and with the White Sox, Twins, and Astros on deck ahead of the All-Star break, we could be about to see something of a charge from the Gulf Coast side.

Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays odds for 7/5/13 are available now.

Tampa Bay (-184) enters Friday’s game as the favorite over Chicago (+174). Jeremy Hellickson (7-3, 4.90 ERA) will start for the Rays in Friday’s opener, while Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 4.57 ERA) will go for the Sox.

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