'Twas the night before Gausmas, and in Camden Yards,
Hiroki Kuroda was about to pitch against Jason Hammel, the latter of whom is about to elevate a million pitches, get bombed all night, the former of whom has a sub-2.00 ERA, seriously, what in the heck is that about
OK, look, it needs a little work.
Kuroda has already thrown one complete-game shutout against the Orioles this season. That happened. And he's gone at least seven innings while giving up two or fewer runs in each of his last four starts. He has made seven straight quality starts, starting with the aforementioned shutout in which he scattered five hits and struck out five Orioles while issuing zero walks.
Seven of the nine guys from the lineup that night will be back against him tonight. How will they fare the second time around? Better, one hopes.
They will need to do better to even have a chance of winning. Hammel is going to give up runs. The end. The sinking fastball that got strikeouts and ground balls last season is doing neither this year, and Hammel's ERA is now nearing 6. If Hammel fails the Brian Matusz ERA Test (have an ERA lower than what you started with) it'll probably be over 6.
It's bad. Dark magic or no, Yankees batters are fully capable of hitting balls a long way if they are elevated. Robinson Cano is a bad, scary man. Vernon Wells is in the process of waving two middle fingers at all the haters who ever doubted him, which is basically everyone. He is waving them at you and me, right now, as we speak. Look at him go. What is Wells but an instrument of vengeance? If you prick him, does he not bleed? If you tickle him, does he not laugh?
Actually, I cannot offer any insight vis-a-vis tickling Wells and laughter. Perhaps the man does not laugh at all, because he has been replaced by a robot or an alien, or a robot alien. All must now fear him.
Bleak as things looked but two days ago, if the Orioles can somehow sneak out of tonight's game with a win, they will have taken two out of three from the Yankees, gotten themselves back on track a little bit as they head into Toronto for a four-game series, which will be kicked off by the arrival of Kevin Gausman. The return can be made. Ground can be gained again. But they need to get lucky or get good, and preferably both.
And seriously, please stop taxing the dang bullpen so much.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Curtis Granderson - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Vernon Wells - LF|
|Adam Jones - DH||Travis Hafner - DH|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Lyle Overbay - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||David Adams - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Ichiro Suzuki - RF|
|Chris Dickerson - CF||Reid Brignac - SS|
|Alexi Casilla - 2B||Austin Romine - C|