Series Preview: Yankees @ Orioles

New York Yankees (0-3) @ Baltimore Orioles (3-0)

Sweep! Okay, raise your hand if you got this question right in the pre-season contest. Yep, didn’t think so. Also raise your hand if you thought Boston AND New York would get swept to start the season and the O’s would lead the league in runs allowed with just five. Yep, didn’t think so. Of course, this is just one series, but you’ve got to take what you can get.

If you ignore only scoring one run off of a long reliever making a spot start, the offense really kicked off the season nicely. Nick Markakis had two home runs and a triple (not kidding). A bunch of other guys (Jones, Hardy, Wieters) hit home runs as well and/or had multi-hit games. Even Ronny Paulino was 4 for 4. The real story, however, was the pitching. Jake Arrieta returned from season-ending surgery to pitch seven solid innings. Tommy Hunter had a good start. Jason Hammel took a no-no bid into the eight. Yep. Solid. Oddly enough, Kevin Gregg didn’t pitch and the Orioles won three games. Coincidence?

Different story on the Yankees’ side of things where the pitching wasn’t as great (see Mariano Rivera and C.C. Sabathia) and the offense was somewhat non-existent. Here’s hoping the left-handed portion of the Orioles rotation continues that trend.

Game 1 (Monday @ 7:05pm):

Probable Pitchers:

NYY – Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

BAL – Brian Matusz (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Scouting Report:

Relies mostly on three pitches (four-seam fastball, curveball, change-up). Added a slider this past season, but does not use it often (just 3.7 percent of his pitches). Fastball sits in the low 90s. Keeps the majority of his pitches away, but came in on lefties with the slider.

Key Stats:

Matt Wieters is the only current Oriole with a home run off of Nova, although he’s just 2 for 8 overall. Nick Markakis is 4 for 9 (.444) with 2 doubles. Robert Andino does not have a hit in 8 ABs against the right-hander. Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter are both 8 for 19 (.421) off of Matusz. Brett Gardner is hit-less in 10 tries, while Nick Swisher has just 1 hit in 16 ABs.

Game 2 (Tuesday @ 7:05pm):

Probable Pitchers:

NYY – Freddy Garcia (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

BAL – Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Scouting Report:

Fastball velocity has declined somewhat (averaging about 87 in 2011 and 88 in 2010). Steep drop-off on his use of the changeup over the last season. Threw the change around 34 percent of the time in 2010, but just 20 percent in 2011. Also throws a slider, curve, and splitter/sinker – keeps them away for the most part.

Key Stats:

Many current O’s have decent numbers off of Garcia, including Ronny Paulino (3 for 3 with a HR), Nick Markakis (5 for 13), and Mark Reynolds (4 for 12, 2 HR). Nick Johnson is just 2 for 10 lifetime, but does have a HR. The Yankees will face Wei-Yin Chen for the first time.

Game 3 (Wednesday @ 7:05pm)

Probable Pitchers:

NYY – C.C. Sabathia (0-0, 7.50 ERA)

BAL – Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Scouting Report:

Repertoire includes a fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup. Really upped use of the slider over the past season (up to 26 percent from 18). Fastball sits around 93, while the slider drops off to 81. In his first start this season, he threw a large percentage of sinkers and sliders.

Key Stats:

Not great numbers for the Orioles off of Sabathia, although in limited ABs. Of those with double digit ABs, Robert Andino (5 for 16), Adam Jones (11 for 33), and Nolan Reimold (8 for 20) have the best numbers. Nick Markakis (3 doubles and a HR) also hits well against CC. Among the other active Orioles are Chris Davis (0-2, 2Ks), Nick Johnson (0-3), Mark Reynolds (0-6, 3Ks), JJ Hardy (0-4), Ronny Paulino (0-4, 2Ks), and Matt Wieters (2-18, 8Ks). Some decent stats for the Yankees off of Arrieta, including Derek Jeter (5-12) and Mark Teixeira (5-13). Curtis Granderson has the Yankees lone home run off of the Orioles right-hander. Brett Gardner is 2 for 11 lifetime and Nick Swisher is hit-less in 13 ABs.

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