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Series Preview: Yankees @ Orioles

New York Yankees (19-15, 3rd AL East) @ Baltimore Orioles (22-13, 1st AL East)

While the team was under .500 for the week, 3-4 against two of the best AL teams has the Orioles seated atop the East division. Now they’ll kick off the week with two games (if the weather plays nice) against the Yankees. This will be the third time in the young season that the Orioles will face the Yankees (assuming you weren’t bored of seeing them already). This series also marks the end of a nine-game homestand.

After being swept in the second series of the season, the O’s recovered in fine fashion to take 2 of 3 in the most recent Yankees match. The pitching staff allowed just 2 runs and the offense provided 14 in support. Wish you could get those kinds of performances every day! Josh Hamilton was a bother in the Texas series, but guys like Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy seem to be recovering from slumps and the O’s managed 2 of 3 against Tampa.

Both games will be at 7:05 should the weather hold up. The Orioles will send Jason Hammel (hopefully) and Wei-Yin Chen to the mound against Ivan Nova and C.C. Sabathia. If the game is played and Nova pitches, it’ll be the third time he faces the O’s this season.

Game 1 (Monday @ 7:05pm):

Probable Pitchers:

NYY – Ivan Nova (RHP, 4-1, 5.02 ERA)

BAL – Jason Hammel (RHP, 4-1, 2.09 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). Has been using it more in 2012, however. Fastball sits in the low 90s. Keeps the majority of his pitches away, but came in on lefties with the slider. Strikeout numbers have been closer to his minor league numbers (he’s striking out nearly 9 batters per 9 innings).

Key Stats:

If the game isn’t rained out, get Matt Wieters in your Pick 6. He’s 7 for 14 with 3 home runs against Nova. Nick Markakis isn’t far behind at 6 for 16 (3 doubles and a home run). On the other end of the spectrum, Robert Andino is 3 for 13 with 3Ks. J.J. Hardy is 4 for 18 with 4Ks. Alex Rodriguez might be a good pick too. He’s 6 for 17 with 4 home runs against Hammel (he also had a solid week last week too). Derek Jeter and Raul Ibanez are both 5 for 16 with home runs.

Game 2 (Tuesday @ 7:05pm):

Probable Pitchers:

NYY – CC Sabathia (LHP, 5-0, 3.51 ERA)

BAL – Wei-Yin Chen (LHP, 3-0, 2.68 ERA)

Scouting Report:

Repertoire includes a fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup. Also throws the occasional curveball. 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. Has been using the slider more often this year than ever before, which may be helping his K numbers to the best of his career.

Key Stats:

Robert Andino is 7 for 18 with a home run against Sabathia. Adam Jones is 12 for 36 (.333) with 2 homers. Safe to say Bill Hall shouldn’t start, as he’s 1 for 14 with 4Ks. Matt Wieters hasn’t fared well either, going just 4 for 21 in his career against Sabathia. Chen has only one start against the Yankees and held the lineup to 7 for 24. Derek Jeter had a solo shot.