The Bronx Bombers will come to Camden Yards for the second time this season in the upcoming weekend. During the first face-off, the Orioles took two out of three from the Yankees. Neither team is playing all that well this time around, so we may be in store for some ugly baseball.
New York's struggles have come mostly on the road, where they have a record of 11-16. Meanwhile, the Birds are pretty good at home, boasting an 18-10 record from the cozy confines.
When it comes to pitching, the two squads are in a similar position. Overall, the O's staff has a 4.01 ERA; the Yanks are a touch worse at 4.15. The rotation is where both clubs struggle. The visitors starters have a 4.40 ERA and the hosts have more issues with a 4.78 ERA. In the bullpen, the Birds have a distinct advantage. Their relievers rep a group ERA of 2.75 (3rd-best in MLB) where as the pinstripers are nearly a whole run higher (3.72 ERA).
Offensively, the Yankees are struggling big time. Their 193 runs scored are the worst in the American League. They are also the worst in the AL in batting average (.231), on-base percentage (.299) and slugging percentage (.371). Something good: they have struck out the fourth fewest times in baseball. So, there's that.
Game 1: Friday, June 3, 7:05 p.m., MASN
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 3.71 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (7-1, 2.92 ERA)
The Orioles have been a OK team for Eovaldi to face over the last few years. He has made three starts against Baltimore and sits with a record of 1-0 and a 3.86 ERA over 16.1 innings. He is yet to get through six innings against them but has also never allowed more than three runs.
Tillman has had a tough time facing the Yanks. Over 17 starts he is 7-6 with a 4.68 ERA and a batting average against of .296. That is the highest BAA of any team that Tillman has faced more than twice in his career. However, he pitched against them in May and was fantastic, tossing seven innings and allowing just one run while striking out nine and walking four.
Game 2: Saturday, June 4, 7:15 p.m., FOX
RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 3.98 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Wilson (2-4, 3.83 ERA)
Nova has two mediocre starts back-to-back, allowing eight runs over his last 12.2 innings on the mound; both games were against Toronto. It does not look like it will get easier as he is set to face the Orioles, who he has a 5.07 ERA against lifetime. Over 15 games, including 14 starts, he is 6-4. Baltimore hitters are slashing .273/.326/.471 against him with 14 home runs over 94.0 innings.
Each start he has, the more I believe in Wilson. The 26-year-old has lost three consecutive games, allowing 11 runs over his past 18.2 innings, but he always seems to keep the team within striking distance. In May he took on the Yankees and put in a "quality start" as he allowed two earn runs over six innings. Not bad.
Game 3: Sunday, June 5, 1:35 p.m., MASN
LHP CC Sabathia (2-4, 2.85 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (0-3, 3.78 ERA)
Who is this left-hander and what has he done with the 2015-version of Sabathia? The chunky southpaw has been genuinely good this year as he has a 146 ERA+ and 3.18 FIP. Not exactly $23 million per year good, but still good. Sabathia was dominant back in May against the Birds as he threw seven scoreless frames for the win. In his career he is 19-7 with a 3.35 ERA over 34 starts.
The finest start of Gausman's season came against the Bombers last month as he went eight innings, struck out four and allowed only three hits while not giving up any walks or runs. But recently his form has dipped. Over the past two starts against the Red Sox and Astros he has given up nine runs over 11 innings. He has been especially prone to the long ball, allowing six in those games as well. The light-hitting New York lineup could be the perfect cure...we hope.