J.A. Happ will take the mound for New York in tonight’s finale of this 2-game set at Camden Yards, facing O’s lefty John Means. Tonight’s contest is somewhat of a rematch of the March 31, 2019 tilt in The Bronx, although Dylan Bundy started for Baltimore that night and was replaced by Means in the 4th. Orioles hitters jumped Happ in the first as Renato Nunez launched a 3-run homer, and Trey Mancini added a solo shot in the 3rd. Happ lasted only 4 innings and took the loss in the 7-5 O’s victory.
THE WISE GUYS : Thanks in part to Baltimore hitters’ success against Happ, tonight’s contest is a little tighter on the spread. At 1:30pm EST, New York is -235, with the Birds at +215. The Over/Under is 11 runs, with a runline of -1.5 for the Yanks, and +1.5 for the O’s.
BALLPARK CONDITIONS : It will be partly cloudy all today in Charm City, with temps around 93°, with a slight wind (7mph) and a 15-30% chance of rain. By game time (7:05pm EST), the chance of thunderstorms will start to increase, with a 45% probability by 8:00pm.
PITCHING MATCHUP : Happ (0-0, 0.00, $10,400) will be making his first start of the 2020 campaign, as his scheduled start in Philadelphia on Monday was scratched.
Lefty John Means (0-0, 0.00, $5,800), scratched from the O’s Opening Day game with a sore arm, will be making his first start of the season as well.
Means was an 11th round pick for Baltimore in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft, and worked his way through their system until being called up on September 24, 2018. He tossed a no-hitter for the Class A Delmarva Shorebirds in 2015.
He went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 2019, a definite bright spot in a down year for the organization — that saw him selected to the American League All-Star squad, and finish second in the vote total for the American League Rookie of the Year.
Means’ repertoire features a four-seam fastball in the low 90s, with a solid changeup that is about 10mph slower and produces a 25% swing and miss rate. He mixes in a mid-80s slider and a slow breaking ball with sick movement. His four-seamer results in a higher number of fly balls than the average pitcher.
YANKEES LINEUP : Sample sizes of New York hitters against Means are tiny, Kyle Higashioka ($3,500), DJ LeMahieu ($4,400) and Gary Sanchez ($4,900), have taken the lefthander deep — albeit all in 6 ABS or less.
As a team, the Yankees are off to a rough start against left-handed pitching in 2020 with a .148 BA and only one home run. Small sample size, but only Gleyber Torres ($5,100) stands out with a 3-4 mark and 1 HR against southpaws. Overall, the hottest hitters in pinstripes at present include DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton.
OPPONENT LINEUP : Baltimore hitters with success against Happ (and who happen to be excellent value picks) include right-handed hitting 2B Hanser Alberto (.462 in 13 ABs with 1 HR, $3,600), SS Jose Iglesias (.364 in 11 ABs, $3,100), and third baseman Renato Nunez (.579 in 19 ABs with 4 HRs, $3,800).
NOTE : Baltimore SS Jose Iglesias is listed as DTD (day to day) for tonight’s game.
INJURED LIST : Yankees on the IL include Aroldis Chapman and Luis Cessa (both COVID-19, 10-Day), Masahiro Tanaka (concussion, 10-Day) and Luis Severino (elbow, out for the season).
Baltimore players on the IL include: RF Trey Mancini (tumor, 60-Day), LF Dwight Smith, Jr., (undisclosed, 10-Day), P Dillion Tate (undisclosed, 10-Day), and SS Ritchie Martin (wrist, 60-Day).
IMPORTANT : Check back after the official lineups have been announced (usually by 2pm EST), and definitely double-check your DraftKings MLB fantasy line at least 15-20 minutes prior to gametime (7:05pm EST/4:05pm PT) to make sure all of your picks are starting. Good luck, and Let’s Go Yankees!