Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees, 20-22 May 2013

This is the O's longest losing streak since Machado's call-up. - Patrick Smith

Coming off of a five-game losing streak, the Orioles will try to finally get a win on this homestand against the first-place Yankees, who lead the O's by four games.

These are dark days in Birdland, as the gloom of a five-game losing streak hangs over our heads. Buck up, though, fans, because four games back in May is nothing; after all, the 2012 Orioles were ten games back in mid-July. The O's will try to salvage this 0-5 homestand in a three-game set against the Yankees before heading to Toronto.

Monday, 20 May: Freddy Garcia vs. CC Sabathia
Career Numbers Garcia vs. Yankees Sabathia vs. O's
IP 81.1 184.0
ERA 4.09 3.03
FIP 4.20 3.38
Slash Line (Past Teams) .218/.273/.354 .239/.289/.349
Slash Line (Current Players) .329/.392/.503 .272/.302/.414

This matchup is one big reason why I don't just quote pitcher vs. team statistics, but pitcher vs. current player stats, too; with only the former, you might be persuaded into thinking that this was a surprisingly even matchup. Maybe Garcia has some success against the Yankees' A-squad, but whatever you want to call their current hodgepodge, it's hit him well in the past. Sabathia, meanwhile, pitched eight innings against the O's earlier this year, giving up as many hits, but surrendering only two runs and zero walks while striking out nine. Well, hey... reverse lock?

Maybe hot: Alexi Casilla(!?) (1.292 OPS, 14 hits in 24 PA), Travis Hafner (1.379 OPS, 4 HR in 36 PA)

Likely not: Matt Wieters (.516 OPS in 36 PA), Curtis Granderson (.475 OPS in 40 PA)

Tuesday, 21 May: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Phil Hughes
Career Numbers Gonzalez vs. Yankees Hughes vs. O's
IP 19.2 80.2
ERA 2.75 5.47
FIP 4.01 4.57
Slash Line (Past Teams) .211/.282/.338 .305/.350/.488
Slash Line (Current Players) .118/.196/.196 .280/.315/.486

Now, here's a matchup we can feel good about. Gonzalez has been our Yankee-killer in the past, though I'd prefer he doesn't give up five walks against them like he did last month. Hughes, meanwhile, generally gets knocked around by the O's, such as when he gave up five runs in three innings in that same series. Let's hope that an opposing team he's had success against, and quite a bit of run support, get Miguel's return to the rotation off to a good start.

Maybe hot: Nate McLouth (2.392 OPS, 6 extra-base hits in 13 PA)

Likely not: Matt Wieters (.573 OPS in 33 PA)

Wednesday, 22 May: Jason Hammel vs. Hiroki Kuroda
Career Numbers Hammel vs. Yankees Kuroda vs. O's
IP 51.0 24.1
ERA 5.82 1.85
FIP 6.06 3.42
Slash Line (Past Teams) .310/.376/.538 .202/.216/.274
Slash Line (Current Players) .269/.302/.462 .186/.222/.254

If both of these pitchers were performing the way they did last year, this would be an interesting matchup. Sadly, only one is, and he isn't the Oriole. Hammel just hasn't looked like the 2012 version at all, and this rotation desperately needs him to revert to that form. His success is starting to look more and more like a fluke, much like that 53.2% groundball rate, which has dropped to 42.8% this year. Kuroda, meanwhile, is picking up right where he left off last year. True, his 1.99 ERA is largely due to a .228 BABIP and a 0.46 HR/9, but regression would only lead to a still-respectable three-something ERA.

Maybe hot: Ichiro Suzuki (1.050 OPS in 22 PA)

Likely not: Nate McLouth (.375 OPS in 24 PA)

Pitching is the most important, most delicate, and most challenging part of the game. You never have it all figured out. - Earl Weaver

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