After another series win in Chicago, the Yankees stay on the road to face a familiar foe.
Next up is a four-game set with the Orioles in Baltimore. The Birds took two out of three the last time New York came to town and, brace for impact, aren’t in last place for once. But they did just get swept by the Tigers after winning four of five.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have been on a roll since their only series loss of the year. New York owns the best record in baseball and, as the great poet Fred Durst said, keeps rolling.
Yankees (25-9) at Orioles (14-21)
Time: 7:05 p.m. ET Monday-Wednesday; 12:35 p.m. ET Thursday.
Probable pitching matchups (Yankees pitcher listed first):
- Luis Severino (2-0, 4.08 ERA) vs. Kyle Bradish (1-1, 4.26)
- Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.93) vs. Spencer Watkins (0-1, 5.19)
- Gerrit Cole (3-0, 2.95) vs. Jordan Lyles (2-3, 4.38)
- Jordan Montgomery (0-1, 3.06) vs. Bruce Zimmerman (2-2, 2.72)
Worth watching: The Yankees really need to beat the Orioles all season long to keep pace in the AL East, and have thus far. A sweep at Yankee Stadium last month has them 4-2 against Baltimore, who just got swept by the worst-scoring team in baseball. The Orioles scored three runs in three games and are missing some key bats, namely outfielder Austin Hays. He’s hit .298 against the Yankees in his young career.
Not to mention, Baltimore is pretty banged up in general. The Yankees still need these wins, even if they are currently playing with house money.
Key matchup: Cedric Mullins is only a .244 career hitter against the Yankees, but he’s also 3 for 23 against them this year. Take that away and he’s suddenly hitting a more respectable .266. What matters more is Mullins is batting .351 in May and has his batting average up to .268 on the year. Baltimore needs him to be the spark plug at the top of the lineup, if only to keep the games close.
The Yankees’ elite pitching, meanwhile, would much prefer to cool his hot bat.
X-factor: Luis Severino hasn’t had full command of his pitches in his last three starts, pitching to a 5.92 ERA over that stretch. The good news is he’s entering some friendly territory. Severino enjoys pitching against the Orioles, with a respectable 3.59 ERA against them and a similar 3.55 ERA at Camden Yards. In a winnable series, the Yankees really need him at or near ace level.
Final thoughts and prediction: The Yankees are now a different team compared to their last Baltimore visit. They’re making better contact with the ball, working counts well, and just playing cleaner baseball in every fashion. Everything points to, at least on paper, for a clean sweep by the Inner Harbor. However, due to a strange combination of Jordan Montgomery’s low run support and Aroldis Chapman’s wildness, they’ll come up just short. Yankees win three out of four.