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Series Preview: Orioles vs. Yankees, 12 - 14 September

The Orioles swept the Red Sox and now return home for four games against the Yankees. As they inch closer to a division title, we'll see YOU at the Yard!

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Some lesser known Orioles
Some lesser known Orioles
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Friday, 12 September (1:05pm) - Kevin Gausman vs. Brandon McCarthy
2014 Stats Gausman (7-7)
McCarthy (9-14)
IP 96.1 180.2
ERA 3.83 4.13
FIP 3.40 3.47
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .262/.323/.368 .283/.315/.435

Game notes: "Game 1" of this series is a makeup game originally scheduled for August 12.  Games 1 and 2 will be played today (and tonight) as a split double-header.  The Orioles expect J.J. Hardy to return for at least one of the games.  Brandon McCarthy returns to the AL to face the Orioles once again.  He did not pitch against them in 1.5 seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Barring any fireworks, Kevin Gausman should reach the 100 inning plateau for the first time.

A reason to watch: The Orioles magic number?  Why, it's Cal Ripken, Jr!  Technically, the Orioles cannot clinch the AL East with a sweep in this series (even if the Toronto Blue Jays are swept), but they can reduce the magic number to just one AND officially eliminate the Yankees.

Scouting report: Brandon McCarthy returns to the American League after 1.5 seasons in the NL.  He was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2002 and spent seven seasons among three teams (White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Oakland Athletics).  He struggled to begin the season with the Diamondbacks, but has found his stride as a member of the Yankees.  Since his July 6 trade, he's seen his FIP drop by almost a full point from 3.80 to 2.96.  A possible key to the "new-found" success is expanded use of the cutter, which he's been throwing more since joining the Yankees.  McCarthy's primary offering is a low-90s sinker, which has resulted in the best GB% of his career (53.5).  He also possesses one of the more entertaining twitter feeds in the sports world and, when combined with exchanges with his wife, makes for some good, clean entertainment.

Friday, 12 September (7:05pm) - Bud Norris vs. Bryan Mitchell
2014 Stats Norris (12-8)
Mitchell (0-0)
IP 147.0 2.0
ERA 3.92 0.00
FIP 4.32 2.62
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .250/.319/.407 .000/.143/.000

Game notes: Not at all related to this game, but your current "death watch" is as follows - eliminated:  Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox.  Joining that list are the Minnesota Twins (out with a loss to the Cleveland Indians) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (out with a loss to the San Francisco Giants).  Joining them today - with the right sequence of events - could be the Houston Astros.

A reason to watch: Is it another DD unknown trade surprise?  Alejandro De Aza has hit safely in all six games he's played as an Oriole.  He's currently hitting .375 with two home runs.

Scouting report: Bryan Mitchell, the Yankees 16th round pick in 2009, makes his first career start in the nightcap.  He has one appearance as a reliever which lasted two innings.  During that appearance, he three a mid-90s fastball, slider, and curveball.

Saturday, 13 September (1:05pm) - Miguel Gonzalez vs. Shane Greene
2014 Stats Gonzalez (9-7)
Greene (4-3)
IP 142.1 63.0
ERA 3.22 3.57
FIP 4.85 4.01
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .255/.321/.428 .259/.336/.368

Game notes: Gonzalez has provided two straight scoreless starts.  He's currently riding a streak of 5 straight quality starts and has not allowed more than 3 earned runs since his first start of August.  These starts have his FIP down below 5.00 for the first time in quite a while.

A reason to watch: It could be fun to watch, if only just to see how long Miguel Gonzalez's scoreless streak can run.  Hopefully some of this magic hangs around for the playoffs and this isn't a case of him getting hot just a bit too early.

Scouting report: Shane Greene has been a bright spot for the Yankees this season.  In 63 innings, he's pitched to a 3.57 ERA and picked up 0.8 WAR.  It seems likely he'll get a chance for a full time gig next season to see if that 50.3 GB% can stick over an extended period.  Greene has had some control issues, but also strikes out nearly 9 per 9 innings.  He has one start against the Orioles this season and allowed just 4 hits in 7.1 innings.

Sunday, 14 September (8:00pm) - Chris Tillman vs. Hiroki Kuroda
2014 Stats Tillman (12-5)
Kuroda (10-9)
IP 187.2 177.1
ERA 3.36 3.91
FIP 4.09 3.67
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .235/.299/.369 .255/.296/.386

Game notes: The final game of the series will broadcast at 8pm on ESPN instead of your usual Sunday afternoon timeslot.  This might benefit the Orioles, as they've struggled in day games this season (although Tillman has been a touch better in daylight throughout the 2014 campaign).

A reason to watch: Camden Chat's own Steve Damerell has outlined why you should probably just avoid this one.  It's an ESPN game.....

Scouting report: Kuroda has recorded his third straight 3+ WAR season as a Yankee, although this could be his first season shy of 200 innings.  At age 39, he's still throwing an effective sinker/splitter combo and continues to rely on control over strikeouts.  He has three starts against the Orioles this season and has allowed 2 earned runs in each of the three starts.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Jump in now. Here's the FanDuel link.