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Yankees vs Orioles: Series Preview

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The Yanks clash with the AL East continues this weekend.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The first place Yankees continue their AL East home stand with a three-game series against the Orioles this weekend after taking the rubber game of their three game set against the Red Sox last night.

The Orioles are coming off a loss to the Nationals last night, but beat the Pirates on Wednesday in wild comeback fashion. Three and a half games currently separate the two teams in the division, and the Yanks will try to end the week with more breathing room between them and Buck Showalter’s birds. Here are your pitching matchups for the series:

Game One: Jordan Montgomery vs Dylan Bundy

The Bombers will face Baltimore’s best right off the bat. Bundy comes into the game with a 2.93 ERA and handled the Yanks in his start against them last series, going seven innings and allowing just two runs en route to his sixth win of the season.

Bundy had to labor through his last start against the Red Sox, going five innings and allowing two runs in a loss. Bundy isn’t a strikeout-heavy pitcher, but he has allowed just six runs in his last three starts. Nobody on the Yanks has more than 10 career at-bats against the righty, and the only Bombers to homer off Bundy are Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.

The Yankees will counter with Montgomery, who was stellar in his last start against Toronto, going six shutout innings and helping the Yanks secure a big win. He has allowed one earned run in each of his last three starts, and showed great poise against the Blue Jays last time out by getting big outs when the potent Toronto lineup was threatening. He has allowed four earned runs in 9.1 innings against the O’s this season.

Game Two: Luis Severino vs Chris Tillman

Hopefully the Yankees can have a repeat performance against Tillman after tagging him for five runs on seven hits in just 2.2 innings on May 30th. The Yanks slugged three home runs against Tillman in that start, which resulted in an easy 8-3 win.

We’ll see if the bald brothers can strike again against the righty, as Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday each homered off Tillman at Camden Yards, with Holliday taking him deep twice. Tillman comes in with a 5.87 ERA after a loss to Boston in his last start in which he allowed five runs (three earned) in six innings while walking four. This will be just his second road start of the season.

Meanwhile, Severino takes the mound for the Yanks, looking to keep the momentum going. The righty has been a huge boost to the rotation in his last four starts, giving up a total of just four runs during that span. He had a great start against Toronto in his last outing, which was spoiled by the bullpen, but he still has a very respectable 2.90 ERA.

In his last start against the O’s, Severino allowed just one run through 6.1 innings while striking out eight. He will have to watch out for Mark Trumbo, who is 4-10 with a pair of dingers off Severino in his career.

Game Three: Masahiro Tanaka vs Kevin Gausman

Gausman picked up a win against the Yankees when these teams last met, giving up two earned runs through 5.1 innings while walking five. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.

The righty gave up four runs in 6.2 innings in his last start against the Pirates and currently holds a 5.86 ERA. Didi Gregorius has had a tough time in his career against Gausman, batting .192 in 26 at-bats. We’ll see if Gregorius can use his current hot streak to get the best of a pitcher who has had his number for the most part. One Yankee who has enjoyed his time against Gausman is Starlin Castro, who has a .391 career batting average against him in 23 career at-bats.

Now we arrive to the curious case of Masahiro Tanaka. There were rumblings his next start could be skipped after enduring the worst stretch of his career, but it looks like Girardi will trot him out there in the series finale. After yet another poor start against Boston earlier this week, Tanaka carries a horrifying ERA of 6.55 while the rest of the rotation boasts a 3.40 ERA. If he can’t show some signs of life against the O’s, it’s time to seriously consider a drastic measure, if it’s not that time already.

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