We have reached Memorial Day and the Yankees are still in first place after taking the last two games at home against the A’s. How about that? Granted, their grip on the division lead is anything but firm given the recent success of that team in Boston.
The Yanks spent most of the first two months battling with the Orioles for first place, but the O’s have sputtered of late. Still, these next three games in Camden Yards are important ones as the next week will be spent against divisional foes.
The Orioles come into the series in desperate need of a win, having lost seven in a row and sitting 4.5 games behind the first place Yanks.
Here are your pitching matchups for the upcoming series in Baltimore:
Game 1: Jordan Montgomery vs. Dylan Bundy
Gumby bounced back in his last start, surrendering one run on just two hits through 6 2⁄3 innings. He also struck out six while not issuing a walk. He pitched like he had something to prove after a rough start in his previous outing (also against the Royals) brought up murmurs among fans about removing him from the rotation.
Montgomery will have to maneuver around some power bats in the Orioles’ lineup to keep the positive momentum going. He gave up three runs in five innings against the O’s back in April.
Bundy threw seven solid innings in a loss to the Twins in his last start. He carries a very respectable 2.92 ERA into the series opener. The righty doesn’t have much experience against this Yankee lineup, as this will be his first start against the Yanks this season.
Game 2: Luis Severino vs. Chris Tillman
Severino is coming off a brilliant performance against the Royals in which he tossed eight shutout innings while walking one and striking out seven. He has allowed just one earned run in his last 13 innings pitched since his awful start against the Astros on Derek Jeter night.
Hopefully Severino can find out a way to at least contain Manny Machado. The third baseman is 4-11 with three home runs in his career against Sevy.
Tillman gave up four runs in five innings against Minnesota last week in what was just his fourth start of the season. He has done a good job of keeping balls in the park against the Yanks in his career, allowing just one home run to the Yankees’ current roster in 103 at-bats. The lone dinger came by way of Didi Gregorius, who is 8-16 against Tillman.
Game 3: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Kevin Gausman
In the series preview last week, we talked about how Tanaka needed a strong start in the worst way. He was suffering one of the worst stretches of his career, and needed to right the ship to help the rotation. He did just that in his last start.
He didn’t get the win as the offense went off the grid and the bullpen faltered, but his 7 1⁄3 innings of one run ball and a career-high 13 strikeouts was incredibly encouraging to see. Now we will see if he can build off of it in the series finale. He has had success against the O’s current roster, holding them to a .216 batting average over 111 at-bats.
Baltimore will counter with their own starter who is looking to find his way in Gausman. He turned in a decent outing against a potent Astros lineup in his last start, giving up two runs in 6 2⁄3 innings, although both runs were by way of the long ball. A Bomber to watch against Gausman is Brett Gardner, who is batting .324 with a homer in his career against the righty.
Who are you expecting to step up big this series in Baltimore? Let us know in the comments below.