Three series ago the Orioles were coming off of a sweep by the Seattle Mariners in which they couldn't hit if their lives depended on it. They were 2-14, they were miserable and listless. The thought of 12 straight games against the Red Sox and Yankees was almost more than this Orioles fan could bear. Although logically I knew that the O's would win at least a few games over the stretch, I still had visions of 2-26.
We're now three quarters of the way through that stretch and thanks to the sweep of the Red Sox, the O's are 5-4 through the first nine. When I talked about it before the games started I predicted that the O's would win 5 games over this stretch of 12. Well, they've met that and now that we're there I'll be disappointed if they don't win at least one more. 357 of you voted on how many wins you thought the O's would get and 254 of those votes were cast for 0-3. Ouch. I'm very glad you all have been proven wrong.
I'm feeling pretty good about this team right now, but I'm not delusional. It's going to be very hard for the O's to win any of these games. The Yankees are not the Red Sox, as we saw when they were at Camden Yards this past week. Even still, the bats are warming as the O's hit more against the tough Yankee starters than they did against other pitchers earlier in the year. Some hot bats over the last nine games:
Ty Wigginton: 12-for-29 with 2 2B, 3 HR, and 6 BB
Miguel Tejada: 14-for-36 with 2 2B, 2 HR, and 3 BB
Adam Jones: 14-for-43 with 2 2B, 2 HR, and 2 BB
Nick Markakis: 15-for-38 with 5 2B, 2 HR, and 5 BB (don't look now, but Nick's OPS is >.900)
Rhyne Hughes: 8-for-27 with 2 2B and 2 BB (still waiting for Baby Rhyno to show us that power)
If those bats can stay hot and if Matt Wieters can get it together against the Yankees (he went 0-for-9 in the last NYY series), the O's could have a shot this series. Unfortunately the rest of the lineup will be Nolan Reimold, Luke Scott, and Cesar Izturis, none of whom can hit a thing lately. And the O's have virtually no help on the bench (Lou Montanez, Craig Tatum, Garrett Atkins, and He Who Shall Not Be Named don't exactly instill fear in opposing pitchers).
But what about the pitching? The O's have had good outings from the starters, but not as good as the Yankees.
In game one tonight, Jeremy Guthrie matches up with CC Sabathia. It's a rematch from last week when Guthrie had his roughest outing of the season, giving up 7 runs and not making it out of the fifth inning. The Orioles weren't so kind to CC either, getting to him for 11 hits but sadly only 3 runs. Hopefully Guts can get back to form because it's likely the Orioles hitters won't have much success against Sabathia. I also kind of hope that the Guthrie hits at least one batter just to get Joe Girardi all riled up.
Game two features another rematch, Brian Matusz and AJ Burnett. Matusz was good last Thursday, but not good enough. The Orioles hitters were completely unable to figure Burnett out, managing just three singles. Burnett has had a good start to the season but if i had to pick a game I'm most confident about winning, I'd say this one. It's not a lot of confidence.
The final game of the series is David Hernandez vs. Andy Pettitte. I don't see how the Orioles can win this game. David Hernandez has been decent, but let's not fool ourselves. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Yankees tee off on him. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte has been masterful this season so far, and he has a long track record of embarrassing the Orioles.
The O's are going into New York on a roll and have to be feeling pretty confident. Will that help them? Can't hurt I guess. Even if they win just one they will have a 6-6 record over their past 12 games, which is better than most of us could have hoped.