RHP Javier Vazquez (3-5, 6.86) v. LHP Brian Matusz (2-5, 5.76)
RHP Phil Hughes (6-1, 2.70) v. RHP Brad Bergesen (3-3, 5.96)
LHP CC Sabathia (4-3, 4.16) v. RHP Kevin Millwood (0-5, 3.89)
- At the time I posted this I could not find a single preview for even the first game of the Yankees and Orioles series that was more than a paragraph. It just goes to show how unimportant the series in the first third of the season are. Fans shouldn’t get too upset over the first part of the season (see April 2010 Red Sox) but they shouldn’t think that their team is the best in baseball because of one good month either (see May 2010 Red Sox).
- Matusz seems to get better the deeper he goes into games and against the Yankees he is pretty solid. In his past two starts he has given up 11 runs in the first two innings so if the Yankees get to him early look for Matusz to get the hook. The Yankees, however, have only had moderate success against Matusz who is 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA against the Bombers in three career starts. Yankee pitching is pretty much the only reason why Matusz is 1-2 against the Yanks rather than 2-1 or 3-0 and with Vazquez pitching, who knows what kind of pitching the Yankees are going to get.
- Hughes has by no means dominated the Orioles. He is 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA in 9 games, six of which were starts, against the O’s and his last outing resulted in a no decision.
- Millwood might just be the unluckiest guy in the league. He is the first pitcher with an under 4 ERA to go winless in 11 starts since 1978. His lifetime numbers against the Yankees, 1-8 with a 6.16 ERA, doesn’t make it likely that he get his first win anytime soon.
Yankees Keys to the Series:
- Javier Vazquez needs to pitch at least six innings. Not only because he needs to regain some sort of confidence in his considerable abilities but because the Yankees bullpen needs to be kept off the mound for as long as possible.
- As mentioned above, get to Matusz early to support Vazuqez and get to the Orioles bullpen early.
- Shout out to Francisco Cervelli who has been on a tear recently. Until Posada returns the Yankees need him to keep performing. particularly with runners in scoring position.
The Yankees will win this series and have a great chance to sweep. Look for CC to get the win in the third game and look for Hughes to go deep into the night and grind out a win against Bergesen. The only question surrounds Vazquez and whether or not he will be able to get deep enough into the game to prevent the Yankees from having to call on their bullpen to throw three or more good innings. If he does that the Yankees will sweep. If he doesn’t, the Yankees will still take two of three from the MLB-worst birds.