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Orioles-Yankees series preview: The last series that really matters

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The Orioles have a slim chance to play spoiler in a three-game series in the Bronx this weekend.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

For all intents and purposes, the Orioles season ended months ago. But because some fancy rulebook says so, they have to play 162 games anyway. Thankfully, only 10 games remain, but all of them come against the three best teams in Major League Baseball.

The O’s kick off their final road trip of the season with a three-game set against the 93-win Yankees. The Bombers are coming off of a Thursday night loss at home in which they allowed the rival Red Sox to clinch the AL East crown. It was a foregone conclusion anyway, but the Yankees will have to settle for a wild card spot. However, that chance at a playoff game in Yankee Stadium is in jeopardy. The Athletics have gotten back on track after struggling last week, and now have their sights set on unseating New York.

That is where the Orioles come back into the picture. They are a really, really bad team. I’m talking .289-winning-percentage bad. But they have been slightly less terrible against the Yankees, winning six out of 16 games in the season series so far (.375 winning percentage). If the O’s take two out of three this weekend, that could prove to be the difference in the AL wild card race.

Aaron Judge is back in the fold after missing two months with an injury. So far in his return, he is 1-for-12 with a walk and three strikeouts. Of course, those numbers don’t matter at all. This series could be the one where he rediscovers his form.

Meanwhile, Luke Voit has taken up the power mantle and been a tremendous success during his month in pinstripes. Over 30 games, he is hitting .320/.394/649 with 10 home runs, the most recent of which was the 246th of the season for this Yankees team, a franchise record. They are on pace to finish one dong short of the ‘97 Mariners for the all-time MLB record.

Game 1
RHP Yefry Ramirez (1-6, 5.50 ERA) vs LHP CC Sabathia (7-7, 3.80 ERA)
Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN

Sure, Ramirez should start another game. Why not? He was pretty good against the White Sox in a losing effort last time out. Over 5.2 innings he allowed a run on four hits, a walk and seven strikeouts. If fact, that may be the best start of his MLB career. It was definitely the longest and could indicate he’s improving. Ramirez is another member of that blob on the Orioles roster that could make up two spots in next season’s rotation.

This September has not been kind to Sabathia. In three starts this month, the southpaw has given up 11 earned runs in just 10.2 innings. He hasn’t won a game since August 12 and has not lasted past six innings since June 29. Starting pitching is one of the Yankees well known weaknesses. They need Sabathia to find his form if they hope to go deep in the playoffs.

Game 2

David Hess (3-10, 5.22 ERA) vs TBD (0-0, — ERA)
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. ET, MASN, MLB Network

Back in August it felt like Hess had figured something out when he had a three start stretch in which he allowed just three runs in 19 innings of work. That feels like a distant memory with the way he has struggled down the stretch. Over his three most recent outings, the rookie right-hander served up 15 runs over 13.1 innings.

Aaron Boone is yet to announce a starter for this game, but it would seem to be Lance Lynn’s (9-10, 4.90 ERA) turn. The former Cardinals and Twins pitcher hasn’t been spectacular for the Bombers, but he’s been serviceable (3.98 ERA in August, 5.52 ERA in September).

Game 3

TBD (0-0, — ERA) vs TBD (0-0, — ERA)
Sunday, 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN, TBS

If the Orioles follow the same order that they did the last time through the rotation then this would be a bullpen day in which just about any reliever could get the “start.” They could also send Dylan Bundy (8-15, 5.37 ERA) to the mound on normal rest after the off day on Thursday.

J.A. Happ (16-6, 3.62 ERA) should be on the mound here. He’s been terrific since coming over from the Blue Jays in a July trade, compiling a 2.39 ERA, a 184 ERA+ and striking out 49 batters in 52.2 innings.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Yankees?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    0 (get swept)
    (97 votes)
  • 35%
    1
    (79 votes)
  • 9%
    2
    (22 votes)
  • 10%
    3
    (23 votes)
221 votes total Vote Now