The New York Yankees wrap up their nine game road trip with a three game series against the Baltimore Orioles. It’s been a start to forget for Baltimore so far this season, as they sport a 3-16 record through their first 19 games. Baltimore’s offense is mostly to blame, as they’ve averaged only a measly 3.26 runs per game, which is good for the worst mark in the majors.
There have been some bright spots for the O’s though, as veteran infielder Ty Wigginton has gotten off to a hot start (.327/.410/.712) and young catcher Matt Wieters is off to a nice start in his sophomore year (.324/.370/.397). Notable players performing on the other end of the spectrum: OF Adam Jones, 1b Garrett Atkins, OF/DH Nolan Reimold and DH Luke Scott, all of whom are sporting batting averages of .215 or less. All-star second baseman Brian Roberts remains sidelined with a strained abdominal muscle.
On the mound, though, it’s been a different story. Baltimore’s top two starters, Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie have been very effective (3.40 ERAs), but have nothing to show for it (combined 0-5 record). Rookie phenom Brian Matusz (2-0) is the only starting pitcher with something to show for his efforts. Unlike the starting pitching, the Baltimore bullpen has been rather shaky, recording five blown saves (second most in MLB). Look for the Yankees to do what they do best and wear down the starters and try to get to the bullpen as early as possible.
The Orioles (3-16) are coming into this game after a rollercoaster ride of a series against Boston. They only took one of three, but each game was decided by only one run. The Yankees (12-6) head into Baltimore having lost their first rubber game of the season.
RHP Phil Hughes (2-0, 2.19) vs. RHP Kevil Millwood (0-3, 3.38)
LHP CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 3.46)
RHP A.J. Burnett (2-0, 3.20) vs. LHP Brian Matusz (2-0, 4.38)
- Everyone should remember the last time Hughes took the mound. He can’t possibly improve upon that outing, can he?
- The Yankees have good numbers against the Orioles’ starting pitchers. Kevin Millwood is 2-4 with a 4.86 ERA in nine career starts against the Yankees. Jeremy Guthrie is 3-6 with a 4.78 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts).
- Small sample size be damned; Robinson Cano is hitting .438/.600/1.154 when leading off an inning this season.
- I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Derek Jeter has struggled somewhat in his first at-bat of each game this season; he’s only 2 for 17 (0.118). For his career, he’s a .353 hitter leading off the game.
- The Orioles are taking advantage of the day off on Monday and have decided to skip the 5th starter’s turn in the rotation. Brad Bergesen was optioned to Triple-A due to ineffectiveness in his first three starts (12.19 ERA). UPDATE: Brian Matusz will be throwing in his usual slot in the rotation.
Yankees Keys to Series
- Get on the board early and often. The Baltimore bullpen has been shaky and the Yankees should exploit that weakness.
- Can Hughes keep the ball rolling? Against a weak Orioles offense, it appears he has a good chance of that.
- Curtis Granderson did not hit the ball well (1 for 16) on a west coast trip that had some tough match-ups against lefties. Will he turn it around with the prospect of facing some righties in Baltimore? I sure hope so.
The Yanks should beat up on a struggling Orioles team. Wins for Hughes and Sabathia, but the starters will rest in the final game and the Yankees will lose.
You can follow me on twitter here.