The last time three days in July had such high stakes for a force from south of the Mason-Dixon line, the Battle of Gettysburg was the result. Don't take that previous sentence of hyperbole serious at all, by the way. It was not typed with a straight face.
It is, however, true that this series is crucial for the Orioles. The trade deadline is but ten days away and they are four games out from the division lead. If they get swept, it's over. Forget about it. They'll be seven out and with three teams still to pass. If they sweep the Yankees, they'll be a bare one game back and sudenly, with a week left to the deadline, we'll all be eyeing the upgrades out there on the market.
If the Orioles end up winning two out of three, they'll inch closer and things still won't feel hopeless. If they lose two out of three, well, they'll be that much farther back, with that much farther to go. So it's only three games... but it's three games at a very critical juncture.
Winning the first game of the series tonight will go a long way towards making us all feel good. It's Wei-Yin Chen's 30th birthday and he gets to pitch in Yankee Stadium. Well, at least he's left-handed, which might mitigate some of the left-handed Yankees power with the whole hilariously short right field porch and everything.
What would be great for the Orioles is if their hitters could generate some offense against Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi. The man has a 9-2 record this season despite a 4.50 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. That's kind of ridiculous. He's faced the Orioles twice already this year, giving up five runs in 10.2 innings of work. The O's have hit three homers off of him just this year alone. Let's do some more of that tonight, fellas.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|Jimmy Paredes - DH||Brett Gardner - LF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Alex Rodriguez - DH|
|Chris Davis - RF||Mark Teixeira - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Brian McCann - C|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Chris Young - RF|
|Travis Snider - LF||Chase Headley - 3B|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Chris Parmelee - 1B||Brendan Ryan - 2B|
|Wei-Yin Chen - LHP||Nathan Eovaldi - RHP|