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New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Series Preview

The Yankees open up a stretch run against division opponents, starting with a doubleheader in Camden today

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Boy could the Yankees use a pick-me-up series. The last few days have not been a showcase in good baseball, from a results standpoint and a fundamentals standpoint. Since sweeping the Red Sox, the Yankees are 4-10 with a -18 run differential. Yuck. Let’s see if they can turn it around against their traditional AL East punching bag.

One piece of good news heading into Camden: the Yankees are expected to get Gleyber Torres back in time for the weekend games. We all know how much he loves hitting at Oriole Park, so it is the perfect venue for him to kickstart his waylaid season. I’m sure Gary Thorne can’t wait for Torres to get a crack at Orioles pitchers

Friday (Game One): Deivi García vs. Alex Cobb

The first game of the doubleheader will presumably be Deivi García’s second big-league start, after he dazzled in his major-league debut. The diminutive righty exceeded all expectations, throwing six innings of four-hit, one-run (zero earned), six-strikeout ball. Most impressively—especially for a youngster who struggled with command at all three levels last season—García did not surrender a walk in his debut. However, a dormant Yankees offense and a Luke Voit error conspired to deny García a win in his first start, so he will be looking to notch his mark in that column when he takes the mound in just a few hours.

This second game for the young rookie is arguably more important than the first, as it will show us whether his debut was pitching on adrenaline, or if there is some sustainability to his performance at the major league level in this season and beyond.

As for the hosts, Alex Cobb will get the ball in the afternoon game. The Orioles’ righty is enjoying a bounce-back season, so much so that his name was tossed around at the trade deadline. Much of his rediscovered success owes to his splitter, which has really been an effective weapon for him this season. On the year, Cobb owns a 1-3 record with a 4.33 ERA, 4.72 FIP, and 1.330 WHIP in 35.1 innings.

Friday (Game Two): Gerrit Cole vs. Jorge López

Gerrit Cole will be looking to rebound from his last outing against the Rays, and will get the ball in the night game. A seven-inning game against the Orioles could be just what he and the Yankees need. If he’s on, Cole is more than capable of finishing the outing, which would certainly boost his confidence as well as spare the Yankees bullpen, given the lone rest day remaining for the rest of the regular season. Cole is 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA, 4.83 FIP, 1.109 WHIP, and 60 strikeouts in 46 innings.

His opponent is Jorge López, who will be making his second start of the season. Originally a long-relief man, López is filling in while Wade LeBlanc is injured. In his lone start, López pitched 4.2 innings against the Blue Jays, giving up three runs. On the season, López has a 6.59 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 1.317 WHIP, and 11 strikeouts in 13.2 innings.

Saturday: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Keegan Akin

With each day that passes, Masahiro Tanaka’s importance to the Yankees’ 2020 aspirations grows. He is the only other starter not named Gerrit Cole that the Yankees can trust will give them a chance to win any game he pitches. The dependable righty is still working his way back fitness-wise, but he has looked stellar in his last two outings. He’s found extra velocity on his four-seamer, which makes his secondary offerings - particularly the slider in recent games - that much more dominant. He will enter the game at 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 1.050 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.

As with the previous day’s starter, Keegan Akin made his first start of the season in their recent series against the Blue Jays. The rookie lefty gave up two unearned runs on three hits to go along with six strikeouts in that 4.1 inning outing. Combined with his two relief appearances, Akin has 3.52 ERA, 4.57 FIP, and 1.043 WHIP in 7.2 total innings of work.

Sunday: TBD vs. TBD

No pitchers for either side have been announced, however we can make an educated guess as to who will be taking the mound. For the Yankees, this will most likely be either Jordan Montgomery or Michael King.

Montgomery seemed to have his season heading in the right direction before getting shelled by the Rays in his last outing. He only recorded two outs while giving up four earned runs on a pair of two-run home runs by Randy Arozarena and Mike Brosseau. That clunker inflated his season numbers to a 2-2 record with a 5.76 ERA, 4.69 FIP, and 1.280 WHIP in 25 innings.

King is the other possibility, and has been serviceable-to-below-average on the year. In his two starts, King owns a 6.14 ERA and 1.773 WHIP, but notably has bot allowed a homerun. Meanwhile, in his three relief appearances, King has a 6.30 ERA including three home runs surrendered, but allows fewer than a baserunner per inning.

As for the home team, Asher Wojciechowski and John Means are the most likely choices. Both faced the Yankees in the first series between the two teams, and both turned in losing efforts. The former is 1-3 with a 5.17 ERA, 5.75 FIP, 1.436 WHIP, and eight home runs allowed in seven starts spanning 31.1 innings while the latter is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA, 8.03 FIP, 1.400 WHIP, and eight home runs surrendered in 20 innings across six starts.