Yankees @ Orioles Series Preview

The horror is finally over, at least for now.  The Yankees were able to salvage something from their first trip of the season to Tampa in last night’s 6-2 win.  However, this series will be a good indicator as to if the team has really put their struggles behind them.  They go to Baltimore for another two game set and this will be crucial.  They will either continue their momentum or go back to the way they played the previous six games.  Obviosuly, I hope it’s the former.

You need to start hitting. (NY Daily News)

There is some good to take from last night though that would foreshadow that the Yanks are done with their slumping ways.  They say hitting is contagious and last night, Jorge Posada collected two hit as did a few other Yankee players.  They also say that homers come in bunches, and this theory holds true especially with Alex Rodriguez.  Well, he hit two last night and seemingly broke out of an awful slump.  The Bombers are going to need these two things if they hope to keep winning.

Roberts has been somewhat of a pest in the past. (Baltimore Sun Weblog)

Now, let’s focus on the opponent.  With the additions of Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, and Mark Reynolds, I, as well as many others, expected a big year from the Oriole offense.  However, as a team their numbers aren’t too good.  In the American League, they rank in the bottom six in batting average, on-base precentage, slugging percentage, wOBA, BB%, and runs scored.  In fact they only have one starter batting over .300 and that is JJ Hardy. 

This being said, the Yankees also happen to have Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia going in this series.  Both pitchers definitely have the ability to dominate and this is something New York will need with a depleted bullpen (Joba will be unavailable at least tonight because he has pitched the last three nights).  Here’s their projected lineup:

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

Now on to the pitching.  The Baltimore starting rotation is in the middle of the pack when it comes to American League ERA, FIP, and WHIP.  However, they are among the top staffs in the AL in innings pitched, K/9, and BB/9.  in other words, they have good peripherals and decents outputs.  Here are the pitching match-ups:

Wednesday

Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.74 ERA) vs. Zach Britton (4-2, 2.42 ERA)

Thursday

CC Sabathia (3-3, 3.47 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (1-6, 3.98 ERA)

The Bombers had the benefit of missing young, hot shot lefty Zach Britton in both series’ that these two teams played earlier this season.  Britton has been a top pitching prospect since last year, but didn’t get too much hype because of Stephen Strasburg. 

(Baltimore Sun)

The O’s bullpen on the other hand is a different story.  They have the worst HR/9 in the American League (above 1!), are at the bottom in ERA, FIP, BB/9 and WHIP, and are middle of the pack in K/9.  They are led by veteran closer Kevin Gregg, but after that there has been much confusion.  The obvious game plan for the Yankees offense has to be to use their patience and try to get the Baltimore starters out of the game of early and get into the weak pen.

Well, all we can do wait and see now.  Tonight’s start time is back to normal at 7:05 and the it will be shown on the YES network.

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