clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Series Preview

The Yankees and Orioles reprise their battle, this time in Baltimore.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Just days after losing two out of three to the Orioles in the first series of the year, the Yankees will take on their division rivals again, this time down in Baltimore. The Yankees have had an uneven start, marred by injuries and frustrating losses to bad teams. Their overall April slate is light, though, and they will continue to receive chances to right the ship against lesser opponents.

Another series loss to the Orioles would certainly look ugly. Baltimore did win their second series against the Blue Jays and sit at 4-2, but they still profile as the AL East’s cellar-dwellers. The Yankees need to take advantage while they can.

Take a look at the upcoming pitching matchups, as projected currently by ESPN:

Game One: James Paxton vs. Alex Cobb

Paxton made a strong debut in pinstripes, holding the Orioles to one earned run across 5.2 innings, striking out five and walking one. The Yankees managed to drop that game, however, so he’ll still be looking to secure his first victory of the season.

Prior to his first start, Ryan Pavich took a look at how Paxton matched up with the Orioles, and concluded the Baltimore lineup would give Paxton a great chance to attack the zone, get ahead of hitters, and take advantage of swings and misses. He did just that, pounding the strike zone and generating both swings and whiffs at above average rates according to FanGraphs. Look for Paxton to continue that trend, playing aggressively against an unimposing Orioles lineup.

Opposite of Paxton, Alex Cobb will make his season debut after starting off on the injured list due to a minor groin ailment. Cobb is coming off a nightmarish 2018, one in which he was left out in the cold for most of the winter as a free agent. He did manage to sign a big-money four-year contract with the Orioles, but not until the end of March. That late start may not have helped Cobb’s cause, as he went on to run a 4.90 ERA in 152.1 innings, striking out just 6.0 batters per nine.

Game Two: J.A. Happ vs. Dylan Bundy

Happ is the only Yankees starter so far to not have a strong outing on his 2019 resume, as his opening start against the Orioles went off the rails quickly. By the end of the first inning, Happ had allowed three runs, all thanks to a home run by Renato Nunez. Happ’s day finished with four runs on a pair of home runs in four innings.

In both Happ and Paxton’s case, we’ll have to hope that familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, or any sort of advantage for Baltimore’s hitters. The O’s will get two looks in the span of a week at both left-handers, which presumably won’t be a huge factor, but probably doesn’t hurt the Orioles’ chances of squaring up the veteran starters.

Bundy will start for Baltimore in a rematch of last Sunday’s game. The Yankees put nine runners on in 18 plate appearances against Bundy in that start, but couldn’t quite get the big hit, and only managed three runs across Bundy’s 3.2 innings. They ultimately dropped that game 7-5. Hopefully, the Yankees will have Bundy on the ropes just as much this time around, but with a better result.

Game Three: Domingo German vs. David Hess

German had a mostly impressive first start earlier this week against the Tigers, allowing just an unearned run across five innings. He did walk five, but balanced that against seven strikeouts. He generated whiffs on over 20% of his pitches, an outstanding rate, as the Tigers looked off balance against both his quality fastball and his slow curve. Every strong start German can compile only adds to his chances of sticking in the Yankees’ rotation.

On the other side, Hess is coming off a controversial start. He held the Blue Jays hit-less through 6.1 innings on Monday, striking out eight and walking one, before manager Brandon Hyde yanked him. Hess was on three days rest, having thrown 42 pitches across a pair of scoreless innings on Opening Day against the Yankees. Perhaps the better question, other than that of why pull a pitcher 83 pitches into a no-hitter, is why have a pitcher start on three days rest one week into the season?