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New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Series Preview

With Aaron Judge possibly returning, can the Yankees take down the first-place O’s?

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

After splitting a pair of games against the Mets, the Yankees got a day off on Thursday, but tonight will see them return to action in an important series. Starting tonight, the Yankees will hit the road for a set against the AL East-leading Orioles.

Last weekend saw the Orioles take a series over the Rays, solidifying their place at the top of the division with Tampa Bay limping through a 5-15 month. While there were signs of this last season, it’s been a fairly remarkable rise for Baltimore. Led by Adley Rutschman and a seemingly endless supply of top 100 prospects, the Orioles have been very impressive so far this year.

Now, the Yankees will take them on and look for a road series win that would be a nice statement of intent. In some potential good news from a Yankees’ perspective, reports have suggested that the team is going to activate Aaron Judge from this injured list for this weekend. That would be a massive add to the lineup considering their stats with and without him in the lineup.

With things kicking off tonight, let’s look at the pitching matchups we’re expecting to see over the next couple days.

Friday: Gerrit Cole vs. Grayson Rodriguez (7:05 pm ET)

The Cole Train kept chugging right along last weekend as he struck out 10, while allowing just two runs in 6.1 innings against the Royals. Dating back to the beginning of June, he has a 2.59 ERA, and has struck out over 10 batters per nine innings. The Yankees are only 5-4 in the nine games he’s started, which is an indictment on the offense considering how good Cole’s been. That being said, one of his few poor outings of the season came against the Orioles back during his brief May swoon. They got him for five runs in five innings back on May 23rd.

Rodriguez was considered a top-10 prospect in baseball coming into the season, but he’s been one of few of the highly-touted Orioles rookies to not impress in his short MLB career so far. In his 12 starts, his ERA is just under seven, with opposing batters OPSing over .900 against him. However, this is the first time the Yankees will ever see Rodriguez. Between that and their occasional struggles against struggling pitchers, this game could get annoying.

Saturday: Clarke Schmidt vs. Tyler Wells (7:15 pm ET)

Early in the season, it seemed like Schmidt would be jettisoned from the rotation as soon as the Yankees started to get healthy, but he’s carved out a nice little role for himself. He has a 3.02 ERA and a 4.07 FIP since May 19th, really helping a rotation that’s still dealing with injures. One start in that time came against the Orioles, when he held them to one run in five innings back on May 25th.

Wells has been a very solid arm for Baltimore this season, and he actually leads the majors in WHIP at 0.991 at time of writing. However, the Yankees have actually gotten to the right-hander a couple times this year, scoring 11 runs in 17 innings across three games.

Sunday: Luis Severino vs. Dean Kremer (7:10 pm ET)

A couple late runs ended up dinging his most recent start, but for the most part, Severino has looked better in his two most recent games. However, now he’ll have to take on the team that handed him arguably his worst outing of the season, and it’ll be on the Sunday Night Baseball stage. Back on July 6th, the Orioles scored seven runs on 10 hits in just 2.2 innings against Severino.

Kremer’s 2023 has been a bit below average so far this year, but arguably his best start of the season came against the Yankees. On July 5th, he recorded a season high 10 strikeouts, as he held the Yankees to just two runs (only one earned) in seven innings. The Yankees performed better in their April 7th matchup against Kremer, though.