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Orioles, Yankees Among The Best Bets On The Board For Friday’s AL Action

Posted by on 7/2/2015 11:17:23 PM

With one game separating the top four teams in the American League East there is every reason for the fan bases from each of those clubs to expect the opportunity to return to the playoffs. There is a good chance that there is some more separation at the top over the next couple of months but right now the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are right there contending for the AL East lead. Here is a look at the best bets for Friday night for the games featuring the key contenders from the AL East.

Tampa Bay Rays @ New York Yankees

Friday, 7:05 PM ET

The fact that the Rays have lost eight of their last 10 and are still in reach of the division lead is proof of how inconsistent both they and every other team in the AL East has been this season. Tampa Bay has consistently found ways to reload and plug open holes in their roster with decent to elite talent and they appear to have enough firepower to contend in the mediocre AL East once again. A big part of their success has been the pitching that Chris Archer has provided, as Kevin Cash came right out and called him the best pitcher in baseball right now. Archer is 9-5 with a 2.31 ERA and 0.91 WHIP and while he got roughed up in his last start against the Boston Red Sox of all teams he still has elite stuff and should bounce back. Archer allowed just two earned runs over seven innings while striking out 10 in a 7-2 win over the Yankees in his only start against them this season but he could have a much tougher time getting some help in this one with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound for New York. Tanaka gave up just two hits over seven scoreless innings while striking out eight in a 9-0 win over Tampa Bay in his only start against them this season and if he shuts the Rays down again there is a good chance he could end up improving to 2-0 against them on the year. New York will need more from its offense the rest of the way and consistency will be the key with a chance to earn a big win at home behind Tanaka on Friday.

Pick: New York

Toronto Blue Jays @ Detroit Tigers

Friday, 7:08 PM ET

No pitcher in baseball has been more Jekyll & Hyde than Drew Hutchinson this season as he has posted a solid 2.12 ERA at home compared to a brutal 8.92 ERA on the road this season. Hutchinson is somehow still 8-1 on the year including 2-0 on the road thanks in big part to a Blue Jays offense that has bailed him out over and over again and the hope for Toronto has to be that he will eventually buckle down on the road and settle down. The Blue Jays will hope that happens in Detroit on Friday where Anibal Sanchez has made four straight winning starts even though he wasn’t outstanding in either of the last two and still owns a 4.63 ERA on the season. Sanchez’s ERA actually climbs to 4.86 in home starts and with the Tigers offense really struggling with consistency over the past couple of weeks they could be vulnerable if Hutchinson can perform the way he has at home so far this season on the road at Comerica Park in this one.

Pick: Toronto

Baltimore Orioles @ Chicago White Sox

Friday, 8:10 PM ET

Baltimore has closed the gap on the rest of the AL East over the last couple of weeks thanks to some timely offense and a bullpen that has absolutely shut opponents down and if their starters can continue to provide them with decent pitching they will continue to win games. Chris Tillman is next in line for Friday’s start against the White Sox where he will look for a sixth straight winning start after pitching seven scoreless innings of work while striking out six in an 8-0 win over the Cleveland Indians. Tillman’s 5.67 ERA isn’t flattering but he continues to do just enough to win games of late and now he gets to face a Chicago team that ranks 30th in the majors in runs scores this season. John Danks has lost four straight starts and his 5.38 ERA isn’t anything to rave about either so if the Orioles offense can get going with a big performance in this game then Baltimore should be able to earn a win.

Pick: Baltimore

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