The Orioles were left for dead months ago, but rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated. After stringing together a couple of impressive streaks, Baltimore is right back in the thick of the AL Wild Card race. The Yankees head south to try and crush those dreams a bit.
With their win against the Red Sox on Sunday, New York sits two games ahead of the Minnesota Twins for the first Wild Card spot. The Orioles are just 1.5 games behind Minnesota, tied with the Los Angeles Angels.
Here’s how the pitching matchups line up for the series:
Game 1: Jordan Montgomery vs. Dylan Bundy
Montgomery got rocked by the Indians in his last start after being called up to help the Yankees in the doubleheader. He allowed four runs in four innings before hitting the showers early. The Yankees have been working to limit Montgomery’s innings, so it’s unlikely that he pitches very deep in this game. Joe Girardi was able to get away with not using his best relievers on Sunday, so that should help. This season has been pretty good for the rookie lefty, but he’s definitely faded down the stretch. He’ll need to recapture the success he had early on to take care of the O’s.
Bundy’s road to the majors has been a long one, but he has shown this season why he was worth the wait. He has been Baltimore’s best starter, with a 3.94 ERA and a 13-8 record. His last start was a brilliant complete game shutout against Seattle in which he gave up just one hit and struck out 12 batters. He has struck out double digit batters in each of his last four starts, which could be problematic for some of the free-swinging Yankees.
Game 2: CC Sabathia vs. Jeremy Hellickson
When the Yankees turned to Sabathia needing a win against the Red Sox on Thursday, he came up big and provided just that. His six-inning, one-run outing was exactly what the team needed in order to kick the series against the Red Sox off with a win. Sabathia has turned in three consecutive quality starts in his last three outings against teams in the hunt for the playoffs. Hopefully that trend continues.
Hellickson is probably a decent guy, but he’s not a great pitcher. His ERA this season stands north of 5.00, and he’s coming off a fairly brutal outing against the unimpressive Blue Jays. He surrendered seven runs in just 4.2 innings of work. This is the kind of guy you expect your team to tee off against, and are totally justified in feeling disappointed if they don’t.
Game 3: Sonny Gray vs. Kevin Gausman
The Yankees have not been very kind to Gray since he came over at the trade deadline. He has pitched much better than his record with New York would suggest, and a lot of that comes down to run support. Gray followed his great outing against the Mariners with a rather uninspiring four-run start against the Red Sox in which he allowed three home runs. He’ll need to do better to keep the Orioles in the yard.
Like Bundy, Gausman is an Orioles starter who has really improved in the second half. He’s gotten his ERA down below 5, marking the lowest it has been since early in the season. His last start was a six-inning, zero-run outing against Toronto, but he pitched 7.2 innings of shutout ball against the Red Sox the start before that. Here’s hoping that Greg Bird can get the best of his former high school batterymate here in the series finale.
The series starts this afternoon at 2:00 pm and runs through Wednesday. The final two games are both at 7:05 pm.