Series Preview: Orioles @ Yankees, 12-14 April

Miguel Gonzalez looks to pad his Yankee Stadium stats. - USA TODAY Sports

After back-to-back comeback wins, the O's head to the Bronx for a weekend series with the division rival Yankees. Gonzalez, Hammel and Chen for the O's against Sabathia, Kuroda, and Pettitte for the Yankees.

After dropping the first game of the set in the Fenway Park home opener, the O's mounted comebacks on back-to-back nights to capture a big series against another division rival. Now they'll take on the Yankees looking to build on that success. It won't be easy, however, as they'll have to face the front end of the Yankees rotation. In other news, Sunday's game will be featured on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

12 April, 7:05pm: Miguel Gonzalez @ CC Sabathia
Career Numbers Gonzalez vs. Yankees Sabathia vs. O's
IP 13.2 176.0
ERA 2.63 3.12
FIP 3.75 3.49
Slash Line (Past Teams) .196/.212/.373 .238/.332/.373
Slash Line (Current Players) .194/.242/.355
.273/.304/.430

Gonzalez was skipped on his scheduled turn in the rotation this week versus Boston. It could be due to a mystery injury....or possibly because Gonzalez has decent numbers against New York. Obviously a small sample, but Gonzalez has two starts against New York and both have come at Yankee Stadium. FIP is decent, but the slash lines are relatively low. CC Sabathia has faced the O's a ton in his career and has put up solid numbers. Let's face it, however, he faced some pretty dismal Oriole lineups in the early 2000s as a member of the Cleveland Indians and again with the Yankees. The lineup he's facing now, with the exception of second base and DH, is much better. In three starts against Baltimore last season, all in Baltimore, the O's managed far better statistics.

Maybe hot: Adam Jones (.340 OBP, 53 PA), Alexi Casilla (1.24 OPS, 21 PA), J.J. Hardy (.920 OPS, 25 PA)

Maybe not: Matt Wieters (.565 OPS, 33 PA)

13 April, 4:05pm: Jason Hammel @ Hiroki Kuroda
Career Numbers Hammel vs. Yankees Kuroda vs. O's
IP 45.0
15.1
ERA 6.20 2.63
FIP 6.02 4.32
Slash Line (Past Teams) .310/.382/.533
.231/.250/.346
Slash Line (Current Players) .247/.272/.371
.213/.240/.340

Hammel's numbers against the Yankees don't inspire much confidence at first glance, but those high ERA and FIP values likely come from Hammel's early stint as a reliever for the Rays. He faced some far more potent Yankee lineups and did not pitch well. His numbers against the current lineup, while limited, are much, much better. Admittedly, I thought the O's numbers against Kuroda were better than they turned out, but one can't forget that Mark Reynolds did the majority of the damage against Kuroda when the O's beat him in late August last season. Chris Davis, at just a .708 OPS, has the best current numbers against Kuroda.

Maybe hot: Chris Davis (.708 OPS, 12 PA)

Maybe not: J.J. Hardy (.357 OPS, 14 PA)

Watch out: Ichiro Suzuki (1.14 OPS, 19 PA vs. Hammel)

14 April, 8:00pm: Wei-Yin Chen @ Andy Pettitte
Career Numbers Chen vs. Yankees Pettitte vs. O's
IP 24.0
253.1
ERA 5.25 3.42
FIP 5.88 4.04
Slash Line (Past Teams) .228/.287/.446
.268/.331/.372
Slash Line (Current Players) .269/.304/.462
.228/.261/.331

Chen was victimized by the long ball in his 24 innings against the Yankees last year, which has led to some bad numbers. The good news is that only one of the HR hitters from last year (Robinson Cano) will be in the lineup, although Kevin Youkilis has homered as well. Interesting stat for Chen: ERA in the first 6 innings of 2012 starts was 3.76, but his ERA after the 6th was 7.42. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte continues to chug along at age 41. He pitched just 75 innings last season, but put up solid numbers and has continued that in his first two starts of 2013. In over 253 IP against the O's, Pettitte has put up some solid numbers. Even better are those against current members of the lineup (for example, J.J. Hardy has just one hit in 20 PAs).

Maybe hot: Nick Markakis (.883 OPS, 33 PA), Adam Jones (.800 OPS, 20 PA)

Maybe not: the IF (Machado, Casilla, Hardy, and Davis a combined 6 for 38)

Watch out: Robinson Cano (.976 OPS in 15 PA vs. Chen)

"The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three-run homers" - Earl Weaver

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