The Orioles are in New York tonight for the start of a three-game series against the Yankees. They can come in feeling good after taking two of three from Boston. Meanwhile, the Yankees took two out of four against the weather in Cleveland, winning the two games they did play by a combined 24-6 score.
With two consecutive rainouts, the narrative for the Yankees could either be that the veteran team got rest when it came available to them and was fresh for the Orioles series, or that a hot-hitting team had to sit on ice for a couple of days and cooled off when they returned to action. Buying into either one of those narratives would be a little silly, because they're just creating a story afterwards that fits the facts. This can always be done and it doesn't mean that things played out the way they did because someone wrote that it did.
It is going to be another cold and miserable April night for baseball in the northeast. The Red Sox did not even wait long in the afternoon to postpone the 7pm game for tomorrow. Rain is in the forecast in New York too, but it's supposed to clear up, or so I hear. Meteorology is about as dodgy of a thing to predict as, well, baseball. There are so many variables that even the most informed and educated person is ultimately only guessing. Even if there's no delay or even rain, it will probably still be cold and miserable - given that it's Yankee Stadium we're talking about, misery is a constant no matter the temperature.
Hopefully rain doesn't factor in too much, because it would be a shame to have one of those games where an early rain delay forces out the starting pitchers. Tonight it's Miguel Gonzalez - who pitched three of his best games last season against the Yankees in New York - facing off against C.C. Sabathia. I wouldn't be sorry to see Sabathia in the rear view mirror, actually, because of years-long mental trauma from seeing the Orioles fail against tough lefties. Maybe it won't be Sabathia's night and it'll be the Orioles' instead.
A sampling of Yankees hitters and their slugging percentages: Kevin Youkilis .700, Vernon Wells .720, Francisco Cervelli .588, Travis Hafner .556. We can infer from these that the Satanic pact that has kept the Yankees afloat for the past decade still endures at least through a week and a half of the 2013 season. Wells has a .467 OBP. Even over a small sample size, could anything but the darkest of blood magic be the explanation?
Meanwhile, for the Orioles, Matt Wieters is batting cleanup tonight. That may be because he had a .908 OPS against lefties last year, but he also has a .565 OPS in 33 career PA against Sabathia. Alexi Casilla is 12-for-21 against him, which is completely ridiculous and also true. Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Nolan Reimold also have some nice career numbers against Sabathia. That could mean everything or nothing tonight.
Also watch out for Robinson Cano, who's batting .303/.361/.667, but I didn't include him in the demonic magic section because he's supposed to be good.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Brett Gardner - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Kevin Youkilis - 3B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Travis Hafner - DH|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Vernon Wells - LF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Ichiro Suzuki - RF|
|Nolan Reimold - LF||Eduardo Nunez - SS|
|Steve Pearce - DH||Lyle Overbay - 1B|
|Alexi Casilla - 2B||Francisco Cervelli - C|