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Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles @ New York Yankees, September 22-25 2014

In the penultimate series of their regular season, the O's head to Yankee Stadium for a four-game set.

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Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Orioles still haven't announced their starters for three of the four games in this series, we're changing up the format a bit today. Here, in brief, are the dates and pitching match-ups, such as they are:

  • Monday, September 22, 7:05 ET: Wei-Yin Chen @ Michael Pineda
  • Tuesday, September 23, 7:05 ET: TBA @ Brandon McCarthy
  • Wednesday, September 24, 1:05 ET: TBA @ Shane Greene
  • Thursday, September 25, 7:05 ET: TBA @ Hiroki Kuroda

Yes, for some reason, the third game of the series is in the afternoon. Your guess is as good as mine.

Yankees' starters:
Pineda McCarthy Greene Kuroda
GS 11 31 13 31
IP 62.2 194.2 75.0 191.0
ERA 2.15 3.93 3.24 3.77
FIP 3.15 3.44 3.77 3.58
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .221/.240/.349 .275/.306/.426 .254/.327/.368 .254/.292/.384

Those are some pretty good numbers in general, and they tend to get even better against the Orioles. Pineda has made one start against the O's this year, a five-inning, one-run effort on August 13. The last time he faced Baltimore prior to that was in 2011, while with the Mariners. Similarly, McCarthy pitched in Camden Yards on September 12, throwing seven shutout innings in his first start against the Birds since 2012. Shane Greene has allowed just two runs in as many games, combining for 12.2 IP with 18(!) strikeouts. Kuroda is the most familiar face for O's fans, making four starts this year for 26.1 IP and 7 R.

None of this means that the Orioles won't turn around and hit these guys well; after all, we're dealing with some pretty small sample sizes. And the teams have split the eight games discussed above, both going 4-4 with late-inning heroics often determining the outcome.

Orioles' (potential) starters:
Chen Jimenez Norris Gausman Tillman
GS 29 21 27 19 33
IP 173.2 119.1 159.1 108.1 201.1
ERA 3.58 4.90 3.62 3.57 3.26
FIP 3.97 4.75 4.19 3.49 4.09
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .268/.303/.432 .247/.357/.392 .242/.315/.391 .265/.323/.376 .232/.295/.366

If Buck just keeps the rotation intact from last week, then we'll see Wei-Yin Chen, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bud Norris, and Kevin Gausman, in that order. Miguel Gonzalez just pitched yesterday, so he definitely won't start in this series. Chris Tillman could pitch on normal rest on Thursday, but that goes against the plan to get all the starters a little extra rest before the ALDS begins. Because of the off-day last Thursday, though, Buck has some flexibility in when to use Jimenez and Norris, since like Chen, they'd have two extra days' rest if they start in sequence.

Chen made his second start of the year in Yankee Stadium and gave up four runs over five innings, but the offense bailed him out, scoring fourteen off of Ivan Nova and Vidal Nuno. Jimenez has faced New York twice for a total of five runs over 10.1 IP (which actually isn't that bad, considering he also walked eleven). Norris has acquitted himself well in three games thus far, giving up four runs over seventeen innings, including his ten-strikeout start on September 12. Gausman's also done well in two outings, surrendering one run over twelve innings, and Tillman's allowed six runs over 27.1 IP and four starts. In short, the season FIPs for the O's starters don't look as good as the Yankees', but Jimenez aside, the pitching matchups look pretty even.

Randomly selected match-ups (or, fun with tiny sample sizes):
  • Nelson Cruz has just a .318 OPS against Brandon McCarthy (22 PA) and a .305 OPS against Hiroki Kuroda (27 PA). Buck could decide to give him a rare night off (or two, but that seems pretty unlikely).
  • Kelly Johnson (.857 OPS, 28 PA) and Alejandro De Aza (1.032 OPS, 19 PA) have hit Kuroda well in the past. J.J. Hardy (.494 OPS, 33 PA), Ryan Flaherty (.333 OPS, 15 PA), and Steve Pearce (.481 OPS, 13 PA) have not.

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