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New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles: Series Preview

The Bombers travel to Baltimore for a four-game set against the Birds.

Baltimore Orioles vs Minnesota Twins Set Number: X164045 TK1

Make that eight series wins in a row. The Yankees stormed into Chicago, taking three-of-four from the White Sox. The offense exploded for double-digit efforts in the first two games while Nestor Cortes and Clay Holmes dominated in the finale to seal the series win. They will hope to maintain that form in the upcoming four-game series at Oriole Park.

Monday: Luis Severino vs. Kyle Bradish, 7:05 PM EDT

Luis Severino will look to set the tone for the rest of the series as he gets the start in the opener. Though the top line numbers may not suggest so, Severino is coming off what was in my mind his most impressive start of the season. He gave up three runs early to the Blue Jays offense, but managed to find another gear in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to keep his team in the contest enough that they could eventually go on and win it. As Mike Mussina liked to say, it’s the starts in which you don’t have your best stuff that are the true measure of a pitcher. Entering play today, Severino owns a 4.08 ERA, 3.82 FIP, and 31 strikeouts in 28.2 innings.

The Yankees get their first look at Orioles rookie Kyle Bradish Monday night. Drafted by the Angels in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Bradish was part of the package sent to the Orioles in exchange for Dylan Bundy prior to the 2020 season, and currently ranks 10th on MLB Pipeline’s Orioles Top Prospects List. He features a fastball that can touch the high-90s, a curveball, and changeup, but the real weapon is a frisbee-like slider in the high-80s that features the fifth-most horizontal movement and 14th-most vertical movement versus average of any slider in baseball.

Bradish enters his fourth start with a 4.24 ERA, 4.24 FIP, and 16 strikeouts in 17 innings.

Tuesday: Jameson Taillon vs. Spenser Watkins, 7:05 PM EDT

Jameson Taillon has put together a quietly brilliant start to his 2022 campaign. He is currently tied for the fourth-best walk rate in MLB at 2.3 percent and has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his six starts. Taillon’s newly-incorporated cutter has worked wonders, particularly in recovering his groundball rate toward his career average. In six starts, Taillon has a 2.93 ERA, 3.25 FIP, and 25 strikeouts in 30.2 innings.

29-year-old righty Spenser Watkins goes for the Orioles Tuesday night. The Yankees could be drawing him at just the right time, coming off a seven-run shelling in 3.2 innings at the hands of the Cardinals last Wednesday. He’s faced the Bombers only once in his career, giving up two runs on a pair of solo home runs by Joey Gallo and DJ LeMahieu last September. He’s made six starts in 2022, pitching to a 5.19 ERA, 5.74 FIP, and 13 strikeouts in 26 innings.

Wednesday: Gerrit Cole vs. Jordan Lyles, 7:05 PM EDT

The Yankees ace is lined up on Wednesday to make his eighth start. After three shaky outings to open the season, Cole has righted the ship in his subsequent four outings, pitching to a 1.42 ERA with 34 strikeouts in just 25.1 innings, and could have fared even better if not for multiple defensive mishaps against the White Sox last time out. Much consternation surrounded the lack of whiffs on his four-seamer. However, beginning with his April 19th start against the Tigers, Cole owns the seventh-highest four-seam whiff rate in baseball (39.6 percent), and currently sports his highest overall whiff rate with the pitch (34.6 percent) since joining the Yankees. He currently sits at 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA, 3.45 FIP, and 46 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

Cole will oppose Jordan Lyles, who has the misfortune of facing the Yankees for a third time already through just 35 games. His two prior starts could not have gone more different. He held the Yankees to one run on six hits in 5.1 innings the first time round, but then got crushed for six runs in 4.2 innings on Anthony Rizzo’s three-dinger night. The Yankees will hope for the latter version as Lyles makes his eighth start sporting a 4.38 ERA, 4.46 FIP, and 32 strikeouts in 39 innings.

Thursday: Jordan Montgomery vs. Bruce Zimmerman, 12:35 PM EDT

Jordan Montgomery will start the series finale hoping his offense can score him some dang runs. He currently is tied for the seventh-worst run support (2.3 runs/game) of any starter in baseball. To his credit, he hasn’t let that become a distraction from his starts. While the strikeout numbers are down a touch, his ability to locate the fastball inside to righties is much improved this season, adding to the effectiveness of his already-potent changeup/curveball combo. In seven starts, the southpaw owns a 3.06 ERA, 3.60 FIP, and 29 strikeouts in 35.1 innings.

It’s a battle of the lefties on Thursday afternoon, with Bruce Zimmerman penciled in to face Montgomery. Much like Lyles, Zimmerman’s two starts against the Yankees have been of the Jekyll and Hyde nature. He pitched five scoreless his first time out but then surrendered four runs the next time he faced them. As he makes his eighth start, Zimmerman is 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA, 3.34 FIP, and 32 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.