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Orioles-Yankees series preview: Trying to avoid history

The Orioles head to the Bronx as they look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and avoid being a footnote on Aaron Judge’s historic season.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Of course this is how everything lined up. The slumping Orioles will be trotted into Yankee Stadium as the sacrificial lamb this weekend so that some poor jamoke on their pitching staff serves up Aaron Judge’s 62nd home run of the season. It will be broadcast nationwide, and then replayed ad nauseam as pundits argue over the “real” home run record. As if this final month of the 2022 season hasn’t been painful enough.

September has been the best month of Judge’s MVP season. He owns a .415/.559/.878 slash line with 10 home runs. He had been on something of a home run drought prior to Wednesday, going seven straight contests without a dong. But he has had little issue with crushing Orioles pitchers this season, smacking nine long balls across 15 games so far, the most he has against any one team. There is little reason to expect any different in this series.

Beyond the Judge storyline is the fact that the Yankees have righted the ship as a team this month as well. After going 23-31 between July and August, the Bombers are 17-7 this month and enter this weekend as winners of nine out of their last 10. It’s not an ideal matchup for an Orioles team who could see their playoff hopes mathematically dashed as soon as Saturday.

New York is getting healthier too. Familiar face Zack Britton came off the IL last week after a year recovering from Tommy John surgery. And the team is expecting to put infielder DJ LeMahieu back in the lineup on Friday. He has been sidelined with a right toe injury for nearly a month.

Some new names that have popped up since the last time the O’s saw the Yankees (in late July): Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Harrison Bader. Both Peraza and Cabrera are rookies. Peraza is viewed as the better prospect, and has made an instant impact at the plate while sharing time at shortstop with Isiah Kiner-Falefa. However, Cabrera has solidified the New York defense, filling in gaps all over the diamond, most often in right field recently. Bader, an outfielder, was a trade deadline acquisition from the Cardinals who is just getting into the mix with the Yankees after dealing with plantar fasciitis.

Game 1: Friday, September 30th, 7:05 p.m., MASN, Prime, & MLB Network

RHP Jordan Lyles (11-11, 4.55 ERA) vs. RHP Domingo German (2-3, 3.30 ERA)

Lyles gets to move up in the rotation by a day after his most recent start was cut short by rain. This move could allow him to get in one more start after this, giving him a decent shot at setting a new career-high in innings pitched. He sits at 172 right now while his career-high is 180. September has been his worst month in an Orioles uniform: 6.86 ERA, five home runs, .822 OPS against, only 19.2 innings.

German’s numbers feel like a house of cards. His 3.30 ERA is the best of his career, but it’s built on a career-low .253 BABIP, a career-low 6.61 strikeouts per nine innings, and a rather high 79.8% left on base rate. That doesn’t mean the Orioles will be the ones to knock it down, but it could be slightly too good to be true.

Game 2: Saturday, October 1st, 1:05 p.m., MASN & MLB Network

RHP Austin Voth (5-3, 4.19 ERA) vs. LHP Nestor Cortes (11-4, 2.56 ERA)

Voth just keeps doing his thing out there on the mound. The righty has a 2.95 ERA over 18.1 innings in September, striking out 18 and walking four. He is also closing in on 100 innings pitched this season, a mark he has never reached in the big leagues alone, but did accomplish between his work in the minors and with the Nationals back in 2019.

Cortes, like the Yankees team at-large, has recovered from his mid-season wobble. In four starts in September the crafty lefty has allowed four runs over 20 innings and has a WHIP of just .850. His outings are often shorter than they were earlier in the season, but the effectiveness prevails.

Game 3: Sunday, October 2nd, 1:35 p.m., MASN & MLB Network

RHP Kyle Bradish (4-7, 5.11 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Severino (6-3, 3.41 ERA)

The Kyle Bradish experience is a rollercoaster, huh? The rookie has looked rather rough in two of his last three outings, combining to allow 10 earned runs over just seven total innings. But sandwiched in-between was that stellar start against the Astros, when he tossed 8.2 scoreless frames and struck out 10. He certainly seems to have the highest highs and some of the deepest lows of any pitcher on this current staff.

Severino has made two starts since returning from a lat strain that had kept him on the IL for over two months. In those two outings the righty has allowed three earned runs over nine innings. He looked completely healed in his most recent start with a fastball that maxed out at 98.5 mph and sat a tick above his season-average on the offering. His last start against the O’s came in mid-May, when he allowed just one hit, a solo home run from Anthony Santander.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    0 (get swept)
    (27 votes)
  • 52%
    1
    (76 votes)
  • 20%
    2
    (30 votes)
  • 8%
    3 (do the sweeping)
    (13 votes)
146 votes total Vote Now