Yankees vs Orioles Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, July 28
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge
Yankees vs. Orioles Odds
-112 / -108
-112 / -108
While the magnitude of this matchup speaks for itself, as two of the top teams in the American League will face off just days away from the trade deadline, the Yankees may already have the biggest addition as Aaron Judge is set to return tonight.
The reigning AL MVP has not played since June 3 after suffering a toe injury. The Yankees have suffered greatly in his absence; they've gone 24-29 without him in the lineup this season. However, all the stars may be aligning for the Bronx Bombers, as they'll also have their ace on the hill tonight.
They begin a crucial series tonight with the upstart Orioles, who have taken control of the American League East. Going into Oriole Park has been no easy task, as the Orioles are 30-20 at home on the season.
Let's dive in and see if the Yankees are up to the task tonight.
While their record certainly shows how much the Yankees have struggled without Judge in their lineup, their offensive numbers paint an even clearer picture.
Since Judge's toe injury on June 3, the Yankees are 27th in wRC+ and have the worst batting average in the majors. While those numbers are bad, we can now factor in Judge, who was well on pace to repeat his MVP-level production prior to the injury,
Judge was hitting .291 with 19 homers and 40 RBI while maintaining a staggering 1.078 OPS. His impact on this lineup cannot be understated, and fortunately for the Yankees, they'll have a decent matchup in his return.
They will get to face the Orioles' top prospect, Grayson Rodriguez. Rodriguez has struggled in his big league tenure despite clearly having big league stuff. His command has been an issue as it resulted in free passes and mistakes over the heart of the plate, which have been punished.
Rodriguez ranks in the 1st percentile in hard-hit rate allowed. Big league hitters have hunted his fastball, and if he doesn't command it tonight, a rejuvenated Yankees lineup will make him pay.
The Orioles are in the midst of a resurgent season, and their talented lineup is a big part of it. Young stars like Adley Rustchman, Gunnar Henderson and Austin Hays have led the way, but they also received significant contributions from guys like Ryan O'Hearn and Anthony Santander.
However, their production is due to settle for some time as the numbers suggest they've peaked offensively. Their team BA and team xBA are equal at .250, and their slugging percentage is five points higher than expected.
It also does not help that they will face one of the top arms in baseball tonight, Gerrit Cole. The Cole train has been rolling this season, as he's pitched to a 2.78 ERA through 21 starts.
Cole has been even stronger in the second half, as he's racked up 21 strikeouts through his first two starts, and there's no sign of him slowing down tonight.
Yankees vs. Orioles Betting Pick
It may be surprising that the Yankees are favorites on the road tonight, but everything is in their favor for this matchup. The lineup will receive a massive boost with Judge inserted into it, and they have Cole on the bump.
The Yankees should be able to jump on Rodriguez, as he's yet to prove he can command well enough to have success at the big league level. Plus, they'll have the elements in their favor, as it will be hot in Baltimore, and the wind will be blowing out.
Back the Yankees to get the job done tonight.
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