Series Preview: Orioles at New York Yankees

The schedule makers didn’t do the Orioles any great favors as the Orioles had an opening week that began with the defending champion Red Sox and concluded with a trip to reigning AL Central champion Detroit Tigers. On Sunday, Chris Tillman outdueled Justin Verlander to avoid a sweep in Detroit as the Orioles beat the Tigers 3-1 to move their record to 2-4 on the early season. The difficult start to the season continues as the Orioles head to New York for a three game series that includes the Yankees’ home opener on Monday.

Outside of Tillman (1-0, 13.1 innings, 12 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts, 1.34 ERA), the Orioles rotation had a rough first turn as they have allowed 20 runs in 20 innings on 35 hits. The staff will look to turn that around in New York while the bats will also try to catch fire as they have just 46 hits, 20 runs scored, 3 home runs, and 44 strikeouts through their first six games.

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Meanwhile, the Yankees come home with a 3-3 record after taking two of three from the Blue Jays and losing a series to the Houston Astros. Thus far, the Yankees’ rotation has been stellar, even with CC Sabathia’s poor first start on Opening Day. Sabathia rebounded with a better outing on Sunday to beat the Blue Jays. In all, the Yankees’ rotation has allowed 17 runs in 36.2 innings. Sabathia has given up 10 of those 17 runs. The Yankees’ bats have been equally quiet as they too have scored just 20 runs in their opening week while hitting just one home run, along with 52 hits.

Both teams look to continue their positive trend in the first three of 19 matchups in the 2014 season.

What You Need To Know…

1. Pitching Matchups

Game One: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Hiroki Kuroda

Game Two: Wei-Yin Chen vs. Ivan Nova

Game Three: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Masahiro Tanaka

Kuroda poses a threat to the Orioles at Yankee Stadium as the veteran right hander has not allowed a run in his last two home starts against the Orioles. In his four home starts against the Orioles, Kuroda has allowed just 5 runs in 31.1 innings. Jimenez made just one start against the Yankees last season, allowing 7 runs and 7 hits in 4.1 innings of work. He has made 4 starts over his career against the Yankees, allowing 16 runs in 22.1 innings of work.

Game two starter Ivan Nova has made 11 starts against the Orioles and has a 5-2 record. But, that comes with a 4.42 ERA and 46 hits allowed in 46.1 innings of work. Wei-Yin Chen has struggled in his seven starts against the Yankees as he has posted a 5.58 ERA in 40.1 innings. He has allowed 38 hits, 14 walks, 25 runs, and has struck out 34  batters.

Gonzalez is typically the type of pitcher that gives the Yankees trouble. In seven starts, he has posted a 4.02 ERA, but has limited them to 36 hits in 42.1 innings along with 36 strikeouts. His lone issue with the Yankees is the home run ball as he has allowed seven home runs, the most to any club he’s faced. Masahiro Tanaka makes his Yankee Stadium debut after making an above average first start against the Toronto Blue Jays.

2. Orioles Need To Reverse The Trend

The Orioles had won five straight against the Yankees last season from May 21st through June 30th. Since then, the Yankee have won 7 of 10 and were 6-3 against the Orioles at home in 2013. The Yankees have won the season series against the Orioles for the past 16 years (which also includes 2 ties). If the Orioles are to contend, these games, even the April games, need to be won.

3. Chen, Matusz, and Britton

In the early going, the left handed Yankees bats are hot, batting .280 with a .360 on base percentage while scoring 12 runs on 8 doubles, and 1 home run. Yankees right handed batters are hitting under .150 and have just two extra base hits in the early going. Chen benefits during his game two start, but Matusz and Britton will be called upon in key situations against the hot left handed Yankees bats.

4. The Home Run Ball And The SB

Neither team is off to a powerful start, but the home run ball should be prevalent in the series. Nelson Cruz doesn’t hit well in terms of batting average or on base percentage at Yankees Stadium, but he does have 5 home runs and 2 doubles in 20 career games there. The Yankees have limited Chris Davis to a .200/.250/.355 line at Yankee Stadium, but 9 of his 22 hits have gone for extra bases (5 home runs). 11 Adam Jones’ 39 hits at Yankee Stadium are for extra bases (5 home runs). JJ Hardy has 8 career extra base hits at Yankee Stadium (4 home runs). The only hitter to perform well at Yankee Stadium is Nick Markakis, who enters the series with a career line of .330/.378/.520 with 10 doubles and 3 home runs.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are running more than usual as the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Roberts and Brett Gardner has helped offset the lack of homeruns. Thus far, the Yankees have swiped 8 bases without getting caught. Meanwhile, only David Lough has two stolen bases, accounting for the entire Orioles’ team total. 

5. Tommy Hunter, the Closer

Last year, Hunter was one of the most effective Orioles’  relievers. Against the Yankees, he pitched 8.2 innings, allowed 6 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks, and struck out 11 batters. Since 2013, Hunter has held the Yankees to a .211/.211/.211 batting line. This includes Jacoby Ellsbury (while as a member of the Red Sox) who is the only current Yankees hitter to have success off of Hunter (3 hits in 4 at bats). He hasn’t faced Derek Jeter as a reliever nor has he ever faced Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann.

6. Hot Hitters

Yangervis Solarte: 8 for 17, 4 doubles.

Jacoby Ellsbury: 7 for 21, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 3 stolen bases.

Ichiro Suzuki: 6 for 13, 1 double.

Matt Wieters: 7 for 19, 1 double, 1 home run.

Steve Lombardozzi: 5 for 15.

JJ Hardy: 5 for 15 (likely out for game one with back spasms)

7. Defense Wins

The Orioles have committed just one error in their first six games. The Yankees have made three errors, two of which were committed by Mark Teixeira, who was just placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

8. Nova-caine (Orioles vs. Nova)

Nick Markakis: .324/.385/.500 with 3 doubles and 1 home run.

Matt Wieters: .379/.455/.897 (not a typo) with 3 doubles and 4 home runs.

Chris Davis: .348/.444/.783 (also not a typo) with 1 double and 3 home runs.

Delmon Young: 7 for 12 with 2 home runs.

9. Kuroda-Crush

Matt Wieters: .316/.381/.421 with 2 doubles

Nick Markakis: .368/.368/.579 with 1 double and 1 home run.

With the exception of Adam Jones (.273) and Chris Davis (.250), every other Orioles batter is hitting under .200 against Kuroda.

10. No More Rivera

David Robertson is taking over for the future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. In his career, he has held the current Orioles batters to a .225/.303/.438 line in 89 matchups. He has struck out 33 batters, walked 9, but has given up 5 home runs. Adam Jones has 2 against the right hander (6 for 20 lifetime) while Matt Wieters, JJ Hardy, and Nelson Cruz each have one career home run against the Yankees’ closer.

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Gary Armida

Gary Armida is a Father to the best little girl in the world. After that, he is a writer who has been covering Major League Baseball since 2007. During that time, Gary operated, one of the first independent online sites that gained Major League Baseball media credentials. Over the years, he has covered two Winter Meetings and has written feature articles for a variety of outlets while interviewing Major League personnel such as Rick Peterson, Jason Giambi, Zack Wheeler, Jeff Luhnow, Jack Zduriencik, Michael Bourn, and many others. In addition to his work at BSL, Gary has contributed to USA Today Sports Weekly and Baseball Digest and maintains his personal site, Finding Avalon And Derry., that serves as his portfolio as well as a place for additional content.


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