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Orioles-Yankees series preview: The potential return of Aaron Judge

The Yanks are in town and expecting to activate their star for a big three-game set.

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The final full series before the trade deadline may not actually be any more important than a series at other points in the season, but it sure feels like it. The TV networks agree—two out of the three games played at Camden Yards this weekend will be broadcast nationally.

The Yankees come to Baltimore with some decisions to make. They sit at the bottom of the AL East, but only 2.5 games out of a wild card spot in the AL. They are 19-23 since June 3, the day that Aaron Judge last played, but they are expected to activate their MVP slugger for this series. With the deadline looming their front office needs to figure out whether this roster is worth adding to or retooling with an eye on 2024. How well they play against the AL East-leading O’s could push them one way or another.

The season series between these sides is tied 5-5. Most recently, they played a four-game set at Yankee Stadium in early July. That one started out ugly for the Birds, losers of the first two, but they took the final two, which propelled them to an eight-game win streak.

If and when Judge will be activated is the biggest question mark. He is yet to go on a rehab assignment, instead playing in simulated games at the Yankees complex in Florida. But it sounds like he will definitely be with the team in Baltimore, and playing is entirely on the table.

Other notable injuries: Josh Donaldson is on the IL with a calf strain, Nestor Cortes is rehabbing a rotator cuff strain, and Jonathan Loáisiga is dealing with a bone spur. None of them will take part in the action at Camden Yards this weekend.

Game 1: Friday, July 28th, 7:05 p.m., MASN

RHP Grayson Rodriguez (2-2, 6.91 ERA) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (9-2, 2.78 ERA)

This version of Rodriguez does look like a step ahead of the guy that was demoted in May. His fastball has more juice, he’s limiting walks, and so far he is keeping the ball in the park. When the big righty can limit the self-inflicted errors, his talent shines through.

Cole looks like a Cy Young contender once again. He is as dependable as it comes, not allowing more than three earned runs in a start since May 28. However, his only start against the O’s this year was also one of his worst. On May 23, he allowed five runs on six hits, three walks, two walks, and two strikeouts over five innings.

Game 2: Saturday, July 29th, 7:15 p.m., FOX

RHP Tyler Wells (7-5, 3.65 ERA) vs. RHP Clarke Schmidt (6-6, 4.33 ERA)

Two poor starts in a row from Wells isn’t enough start ringing alarm bells, but a third one might push us close. The 28-year-old has already passed his previous career high in innings, and we know how things cratered for him a season ago. He was good against New York in July, tossing six innings and allowing two runs.

Schmidt has been a much-improved pitcher since mid-May. In his 12 appearances since May 14, he’s got a 3.02 ERA and has held opposing hitters to a .232 batting average. His season ERA has dropped from 6.30 at the time to 4.33 now.

Game 3: Sunday, July 30th, 7:10 p.m., ESPN

RHP Dean Kremer (10-4, 4.59 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Severino (2-4, 6.46 ERA)

Kremer is having himself a nice July. Three of his four starts this month have been terrific, lasting six innings or longer and allowing one earned run or less. But even if you include the stinker against the Dodgers, he’s got a 2.92 ERA in July, and the Orioles have won ever game he has pitched.

It’s been a nightmarish season for Severino, but his last two starts have been decent. Over 11.2 innings he has allowed four runs on 14 hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts. It’s far from dominant stuff, but it will work. The Orioles would be fine with a replay of his July 6 start against them, when he served up seven runs in just 2.2 innings of work.


How many games will the Orioles win in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    0 (get swept)
    (21 votes)
  • 21%
    (98 votes)
  • 58%
    (271 votes)
  • 16%
    3 (do the sweepin’!)
    (75 votes)
465 votes total Vote Now