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Baltimore Orioles @ New York Yankees lineups and game notes - April 9

Can the Orioles pull off the first series win of 2014? Doing so against the Yanks will make it sweeter.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Boy, the Orioles offense needed that one from yesterday.  The offense exploded with 14 runs, which is only 1 less than previous 4 games combined.  It was encouraging to see the first Adam Jones homer, a Delmon Young explosion (!) and some of the "other guys" (Lombardozzi, Schoop, Flaherty) chipping in for combined 8 hits.  Tonight, in the Bronx, the Orioles lineup will face the new Yankees $155 million import ($175 million if you count the posting fee), Masahiro Tanaka as Miguel Gonzalez will try to hold down the Yankees lineup.


RHP Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore Orioles

A solid #3~4 type since 2012, Gonzalez was shelled by the Tigers in his first start of the year (3.1 IP, 9H, 7ER) and looks to rebound in the Yankee Stadium.  Remember the O's playoff run in 2012 when Gonzalez was just dominating against the Yankee lineup?  Your memory is accurate - that year, he held the Bombers to the line of .208/.222/.396, which is downright Mendoza-ian.  However, the current Yankee position players have hit him for .290/.364/.580 line in their lifetime, which, is quite a difference.  Well, if the numbers I gave you seem worrisome, keep in mind that Gonzalez is a solid pitcher who has shown that he's much better than how he did in Detroit so let's hope for a redemption.  He was quite decent in ST (3.54 ERA, 20.1 IP) so I don't think we are looking at a falloff in his career or anything like that.

RHP Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees

If you were alive during offseason, you know who he is.  Yankees spent a whopping $175 million for posting fee and contract to have a 25-year old Japanese star to pitch for them.  On his first ML start versus the Blue Jays, he was quite solid - 7.0 IP, 6H, 2ER and 8K's with no walks.  Pitch f/x says that he mixed 7 pitches while aiming his pitches below the strikezone to get whiffs - he threw 16 pitches out of 97 thrown on the left side right below the strikezone in his first start.  It will be his first start at the Yankee Stadium and the first time the O's will face him - there are no previous data on their matchup (obviously) but if Tanaka's command and stuff are on, the O's hitters have something finicky to work on.

Nothing too special in the lineups besides that for the Yankees, Ellsbury will be the DH instead of Beltran or Soriano - I guess it would not be a bad idea for them to rest Ellsbury's speedy legs a break.  Can I also talk about how pesky Yangervis Solarte is?  He was virtually minor league fodder stuck in the Rangers minor league system and now he ranks top 10 in MLB's OPS rank with 1.227 and leads everyone in doubles (6).  Of course you should not expect him to continue that stretch (thank God) but a hot hitter is a hot hitter - he reminds me of 2005 Aaron Small, who was also virtually unknown by many until having a flukey 10-0 season with the Yankees in 2005.

As for the Orioles, it is encouraging to see a 14-run game from yesterday and guys like Matt Wieters (.987 OPS), Nelson Cruz (.965 OPS) and Adam Jones (.879) have been hitting well as well as Chris Davis could see some more power surge (.414 SLG is not bad in general but dismal in Chris Davis world).  The winning formula seems to be quite straightforward here - Gonzalez needs to allow less runs (or no runs at all) than the offense scores (or the offense needs to score more than Gonzalez allows).  It's the first nightcap in... what... awhile?!  Enjoy the much-longed evening baseball, compadres.  Hardy is still not in the lineup (ugh back spasms ugh) and Lough, apparently injured (but not badly enough for DL apparently?), will be on the bench.  Will Delmon Young show another display of former phenom's potential?  Just for a fun thought.

Anywho, here's the lineup:


Nick Markakis - RF Brett Gardner - CF
Delmon Young - DH Derek Jeter - SS
Chris Davis - 1B Jacoby Ellsbury - DH
Adam Jones - CF Carlos Beltran - RF
Matt Wieters - C Brian McCann - C
Nelson Cruz - LF Alfonso Soriano - LF
Steve Lombardozzi - 2B Kelly Johnson - 1B
Ryan Flaherty - SS Brian Roberts - 2B
Jonathan Schoop - 3B Yangervis Solarte - 3B
Miguel Gonzalez - RHP Masahiro Tanaka - RHP