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Orioles vs. Yankees: May 7-10. Series Preview.

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The Orioles travel to the Bronx for a four game series against the division leading Yankees

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles look to get back on track after dropping two against the Mets. If you count the three games in Tampa Bay as road games, they're now 2-3 on this road trip.

The Yankees just dropped two of three against the Blue Jays, but are still 17-11 on the season and continue to lead the division. They're coming home for this series after six straight on the road, where they went 4-2.

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Chris Tillman vs. Nathan Eovaldi

The Orioles saw Eovaldi back on on April 15th. They did well against him. He gave up two earned runs in five innings and the Orioles went on to win that game 7-5. Eovaldi has won both his decisions in five starts this season, both of them away. At home this season, he's given up seven earned runs on 15 hits in 9.2 innings pitched. Overall he's got a 3.81 ERA with a good 3.67 strikeout to walk ratio. Prior to this season he had spent his career in the NL, so that last game in April was the first time most Orioles had seen him. But he's got a decently sized split...lefties have a .781 OPS against him, while righties are only at .680. Combine that with the short right field at Yankee Stadium and I'd expect to see a power-lefty heavy lineup against Eovaldi in this game.

Chris Tillman on the other hand has seen a lot of the Yankees lineup and has pitched at Yankee stadium a lot. Unfortunately, the results haven't been great. In seven starts at Yankee Stadium, he's 3-3 with a 7.47 ERA. He'll want to watch out for Alex Rodriguez, who's 5 for 10 with 3 home runs against him. Tillman pitched pretty well in his last outing against the Rays, but the Orioles still went on to lose the game.

Friday: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Adam Warren

After Jimenez's...not good...start against the Mets, is Gonzalez the best pitcher on the rotation so far? Maybe - he hasn't pitched less than five innings in a start this season and has an ERA of 2.59. But like Tillman, his results in Yankee Stadium haven't been great. In six starts, he's 2-2 with a 4.29 ERA. The big concern may be the seven home runs he's given up - the most at any park outside of Camden Yards. He needs to lookout for Carlos Beltran, who's 4 for 6 with a home run against him.

Adam Warren has been around for a few years in the Yankees bullpen, but he's become their fifth starter this year. His ERA this season is 4.78 in five starts. He's allowed at least one run in every start and hasn't gone six innings in any of them. This is the guy the Orioles need to look at to put up some runs on and get out to the early lead, since they're 1-10 when the opponent scores first. J.J Hardy may be back for this game which would be nice...he's 3 for 5 against Warren. Adam Jones is 3 for 6 and Chris Davis is 2 for 4.

Saturday: Wei-Yin Chen vs. Chase Whitley

Whitley just made his career debut last season, where he got time as a starter and reliever. This season, he's started two games and is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. His last start against the Blue Jays was impressive as he gave up no runs and no walks in seven innings. Against a lineup like the Blue Jays have, that's pretty good. The Orioles certainly don't have anyone who could claim that feat. Warren also has yet to give up a home run this year. Still, he's a young pitcher so there's a bigger potential than with an established pitcher that he could have a bad game.

Wei-Yin Chen has had a pretty good season so far. Strangely, his only decision this season was a loss against the Red Sox on April 20th during that rain shortened Monday morning game. He didn't actually allow and earned runs in that game, though three errors by the team led them to lose 7-1. Of course, he didn't help himself with five walks. It's those walks that have hurt him - he's got a terrible 1.82 SO/W and even though his ERA is at a very good 2.83, his FIP is at 5.45. Like the other Orioles pitchers here, he hasn't been good at Yankee Stadium, going 1-3 in five games with a 4.88 ERA. Of course, he also has only given up three home runs in 27.2 innings pitched there, so I think if he can limit the walks he should be OK. And even though this will be a day game for him, he doesn't seem to be too much worse during them as compared to night games. Day games for the Orioles still make me nervous.

Sunday: Bud Norris vs. Michael Pineda

Yikes - you want to talk about a tale of two seasons, this may be it. I'm not even going to break down each pitcher, I think this will sum it up:

2015

W/L

ERA

FIP

SO/W

HR

Pineda

4-0

2.97

2.15

12.67

2

Norris

1-3

9.75

4.78

1.60

3


OK, fine - they're about even in home runs allowed. But otherwise...

Other Notes:

- Despite their losing record, the Orioles are +7 in run differential. Combine that with their average of more than six men LOB per game and their average .292 with RISP and I'm tempted to say the Orioles continue to be unlucky on the season.

- Masahiro Tanaka is on the DL, which may sound bad, but he's 0-1 against the Orioles giving up six earned runs in 14 innings last season. Of course Jonathan Schoop isn't around right now and he's got the two home runs the team had against him.

- The Orioles defense seems to have stabilized a bit, only getting two errors in their last five games, compared with five in the five games before that. And if Hardy and Flaherty do return, I'd expect that to get even better.

- The Yankees lineup is packed full of left-handed and switch hitters. Collectively this season, left-handed batters have a .747 OPS vs. .683 against right-handed batters.

Prediction:

So even though on paper this matchup doesn't look good for the Orioles, here's the thing: Since the beginning of last season, they've played well against the Yankees, going 15-7, their best winning percentage against any divisional opponent in that time. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they can take 3 of 4. Other than Pineda, none of their starters really scare me. I don't like the two day games, but the Orioles have been better in day games this year, going 6-3 so far so maybe it will help them. Here's hoping...