Orioles @ Yankees Series Preview

So the Yankees have Monday off to reflect on the beating that Josh Beckett and Marco Scutaro gave them last night.  However, tomorrow night they will be back on the field, at home again, against the Orioles for the first time this season.

When Summer comes, this guy will be hitting bombs out of Camden Yards. (Eric Gay/AP)

As surprising as the Red Sox and Rays have been at the start of the season, the O’s have shocked the world also, but in a good way.  They are 6-3 and the one series they lost was to the 8-1 Rangers, who they gave their only loss.  Let’s take a look at their projected lineup:

  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Nick Markakis, RF
  3. Derrek Lee, 1B
  4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
  5. Mark Reynolds, 3B
  6. Adam Jones, CF
  7. Jake Fox, LF
  8. Matt Wieters, C
  9. Robert Andino, SS

No one has ever said that the Orioles couldn’t hit and with the additions of Lee, Vlad, and Reynolds, the lineup looks even better than it has in a while.  They also have Luke Scott who can DH and play some outfield and he is nice lefty bat to have.  Boone Logan will be seen a little bit with Markakis and Scott lurking.  The one thing that has kept Baltimore in the position they are in is their starting pitching.  Let’s take a look at the pitching match-ups:

Tuesday

Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (2-0, 4.09 ERA)

Wednesday

Chris Jakubauskas (0-0, 15.00 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (0-1, 16.50 ERA)

Thursday

Jake Arrieta (1-1, 8.68 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10 ERA)

Tuesday is definitely the best match-up as far as the possibility of a pitcher’s duel goes.  Burnett has been very good thus far in 2011 and is a very good April pitcher and Tillman has shown he has the ability to be dominant when he almost no-hit the Rays earlier this season.  Wednesday is a battle of two pitchers that have struggled in their first couple of starts and then Thursday is two hurlers that have been meh.  Also, especially coming off of the day off, the Yanks have the much stronger bullpen.

Robinson Cano and Russell Martin have to stay hot and the top three (Gardy, Jeter, Tex) need to get cooking.  They have just been awful and the first inning is just becoming a formality.  The O’s are playing great baseball right now and the Bombers need to be hitting the ball well if they want to win this series.  We also must thank the heavens that they are not facing Jeremy Guthrie and Zach Britton as both are on top of their game’s right now.

The Orioles are obviously a team that can no longer be taken as a joke.  I know it is a very small sample, but everyone was expecting an improvement this year.  It will be interesting to see if Buck Showalter’s team backs up his comments about the Yankees and if Derek Jeter ducks out on inside pitches even more.

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