After a lengthy but fairly successful nine-game road trip, the Yankees are back home in the Bronx for a four-game series against the Orioles this weekend. Baltimore has fallen back a bit in the Wild Card race since these two teams met at Camden Yards last week, currently sitting four games out of a playoff spot.
The Yankees, on the other hand, want to use some home field advantage in putting the finishing touches on hosting the AL Wild Card game at a minimum. The AL East is still very much in play as well with New York sitting just three games behind Boston with 17 games to play.
Here’s how the pitching lines up for the series against the O’s.
Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Wade Miley
Tanaka’s last start was a bad one, no doubt, as he surrendered seven runs in just four innings down in Arlington. The good news is that he had been much better prior to that outing, with it being the first time since the All-Star break that he’d given up more than four runs. Improved Tanaka should be able to give the Yankees a chance to win the series opener.
Wade Miley has finally been able to get his ERA under five in his last two starts, but he has gotten nothing to show for it in the win column. His last start was a 5.2-inning, four-run outing against the unbeatable Cleveland. He actually hasn’t given up more than three runs, that last start aside, since July 25th. Miley’s numbers haven’t been very good on the road, however, and the Yankees can definitely hurt a pitcher with the long ball.
Game 2: Luis Severino vs. Gabriel Ynoa
The Yankees send their ace to the mound in the second game of the series. Severino is coming off another great start against the Rangers in which he allowed just one run in seven innings that kept his team in the game until the offense was able to prevail. Severino has been nothing but money all season, and he’ll be vitally important to the Yankees down the stretch as their likely go-to in a one-game must-win situation.
Ynoa is making just his second start this season when he takes on the Yankees in Game 2 of the series. He did have a six-inning, zero-run outing against the White Sox back on May 5th, but he was out of commission from late June to early September. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Yankees back on September 4th in an Orioles loss. Ynoa pitched 4.2 innings of three-run ball against Cleveland his last time out.
Game 3: Jordan Montgomery vs. Jeremy Hellickson
Montgomery’s leash has been exceptionally short recently, which makes a lot of sense as the Yankees work to limit his innings and protect leads with their strong bullpen. Joe Girardi hasn’t let Montgomery get past 5.1 innings of work since July 25th. Look for it to be no different in this start against the Orioles. Girardi will likely turn to his bullpen early, especially if there is a lead. Montgomery made it just 3.1 innings against Texas in his last start which ended up being a blowout win for New York.
The Yankees lost the game Hellickson started against them in the last series, thanks to Manny Machado’s walk-off home run. For his part, Hellickson lasted just 2.1 innings after giving up five (three earned) runs before the Orioles bullpen held the Yankees in check long enough for their offense to chip away. He turned in a quality start against Cleveland his last time out, but Baltimore took the loss anyway.
Game 4: CC Sabathia vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
Sabathia surrendered five runs to the Orioles in his start against them in Baltimore after going 5.1 innings. His most recent start was even shorter, going just 4.1 innings against the Rangers his last time out. The Yankees lost his start against the O’s, but were able to prevail in the game he started against Texas. Joe Girardi is trying to be mindful of Sabathia’s knee issue that cropped back up as of late, which may limit how long he is willing to let Sabathia stay in the game.
Ubaldo has bounced back and forth between the Orioles rotation and bullpen as of late. His last outing against the Yankees was a scoreless inning against them in the Machado walk-off game. He pitched five innings and allowed three runs in a start against Toronto his last time out. With an ERA approaching 7, Jimenez is the type of pitcher that the Yankees should tee off against. It will be nothing but frustration if they can’t.