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Orioles-Yankees series preview: Four games in the Bronx

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The Orioles start a four-game series against the Yankees on the road tonight. Here’s hoping the O’s treat them like the fourth-place team that they are.

The Orioles just took two out of three from the Rays over the weekend, losing the last game of the series. That means if they want to get that seven-game win streak in July they’ll have to start fresh tonight. They’ll be facing the Yankees for the next four nights.

The Yankees have been about a .500 team this season, so they’re not that good. But they’re not that bad either, and the Orioles have played poorly on the road. They’ll have their work cut out for them if they are going to take this series. Four-game series are always tough.

Monday, July 18th: Kevin Gausman vs. Ivan Nova

Ivan Nova has just been terrible this year. Like, not that he’s had a flew really bad clunkers that dragged his ERA down to its current 5.17. He’s just been consistently bad. He started the season in the bullpen before moving into the rotation in mid-May. He had a couple decent starts but has been bad since. Over his last nine games he has given up at least four runs in seven of them.

Nova has a decent strike out rate and a good walk rate, but he just gives up a ton of hits and has a 21.4% home run rate.

When last we saw Kevin Gausman he was having some troubles against the Dodgers. He hasn’t pitched since July 6th so maybe being super rested will help him? He is the Orioles’ second-best pitcher so they really need him to get it together.

Tuesday, July 19th: Vance Worley vs. Nathan Eovaldi

Vance Worley pitched 1.2 innings just yesterday, but even with that it appears he’s the best guy for the job at this moment. And you know, they’ve tried everyone else they have, why not the Vanimal?

Nathan Eovaldi has a 5.11 ERA, which is just a touch lower than Ivan Nova’s. After an abysmal month of June where he put up a 8.65 ERA over five starts, Eovaldi was moved to the bullpen. But now he’s back, because the Yankees have as much trouble with their pitching as the Orioles. The Orioles kicked off Eovaldi’s rough June by scoring five runs off of him on June 3rd.

Wednesday, July 20th: Yovani Gallardo vs. Michael Pineda

Pineda actually has the highest ERA (5.56) of any starting pitcher the Orioles will see in this series, but he still worries me. He has had his share of clunkers of late, but he also has put up some good games. Also, his strikeout per nine innings of 10.7 is highest in the league.

Gallardo is ostensibly the O’s third-best starter, but watching him pitch is pretty tough. He gave up three runs over five innings against the Rays last Friday, which for him qualifies as a decent game. I have low expectations and would take that again from him in this game.

Thursday, July 21st: Chris Tillman vs. CC Sabathia

This game is the best pitching matchup of the series, but it’s the game that the fewest of us will see as it starts at 1 p.m. Masahiro Tanaka as been the Yankees’ best starter this season, but luckily he isn’t appearing in this series. CC Sabathia, though, has been no slouch.

After injuries, personal issues, and the passing of time affected Sabathia over recent years, he has seen a resurgance this season. His 3.94 ERA is the best he’s pitched since 2012. He has stumbled of late, though, giving up at least five runs in each of his last five starts. Let’s hope we see that CC instead of the one who pitched seven shutout innings against the O’s back in early May.

Chris Tillman is being talked up as possibly being the first 20-game winner on the Orioles since Mike Boddicker did it in 1984. I know as well as all of you that pitcher wins are dumb, but that would still be pretty cool. Currently Tillman is operating as the guy who gives the bullpen a rest, as he has pitched seven innings in each of his last three starts, and eight times overall.

Conclusion

Here are the ERAs of the eight starting pitchers appearing in this series, in descending order:

  • 5.77 - Gallardo
  • 5.56 - Pineda
  • 5.18 - Nova
  • 5.11 - Eovaldi
  • 4.15 - Gausman
  • 3.95 - Sabathia
  • 3.29 - Tillman
  • 2.87 - Worley (doesn’t really count as he’s generally in the bullpen)

Prediction: Lots of homers. Lots and lots of homers.