Yankees vs. Orioles series preview

The New York Yankees will look to forget their horrid month of April as they go on the road to face the Baltimore Orioles for the first time this season. Fresh off being swept at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees, now cellar dwellers of the AL East, will look to get on track and rebound against the O’s in a series of three.

Game 1: Luis Severino (0-3, 6.86 ERA) v.s Chris Tillman (2-1, 3.24 ERA)
It truly felt wrong to type “6.86 ERA” after Luis Severino. As I will elaborate on in the "Keys to a Series Victory" below, this will be a huge start for the Dominican Republic native as he will look to regain his form from last season. He has struggled mightily with command in the early going and will have to be extremely careful when facing a potent Orioles lineup. The Yankees will be facing a familiar foe in Chris Tillman, as the right hander got roughed up by the Bombers last season, allowing 17 hits and six earned runs in 11 innings. Hopefully the Yankees bats wake up against a pitcher they’ve generally done well against.


Game 2: C.C Sabathia (1-2, 5.06 ERA) v.s Tyler Wilson (1-0, 3.06 ERA)
Coming off an average performance (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) against the Texas Rangers that saw him give the Yanks a chance to win, C.C Sabathia will look to get the W against the O’s. Sabathia did not perform well against Baltimore last season, as he gave up 11 runs in 16 innings. However, as a proven clubhouse leader and voice for the Yankees, he knows that the team needs to stop the skid soon. C.C will take the mound with the mentality that his team needs a solid outing from him. On the other side, 26-year-old Tyler Wilson will take the mound for the O’s. In a swingman role for the Orioles, Wilson has performed well bouncing between the bullpen and rotation. He is average though, and the Yankees should be able to get their offense going against him.

Game 3: Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.87 ERA) v.s Mike Wright (1-2, 5.40 ERA)
Masahiro Tanaka has looked fantastic this season and will look to continue his strong start when he takes on the Orioles. Tanaka will need to control the one demon that has haunted him throughout his brief MLB career, the long ball. Baltimore’s lineup is full of power hitters who can smash the ball, so Tanaka and Brian McCann will have to navigate through them with precision. The relatively unknown Mike Wright will toe the rubber for the O’s in game three. The owner of a 5.40 ERA, Wright has done nothing to assert himself as an average starter, and really has the look of a spot starter. He’s given up 24 hits in 23 innings and if the Yankees can’t jump on this guy, I don’t know if they’ll ever hit.
Photo Via Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports
Keys to a Series Victory
  1. Keep the “offense” going…? The Yankees scored six runs in three innings against David Price in the final game of the Boston series. Before that, it took the Yankees offense 39 innings to score six runs. So as abysmal as it may seem, the final Boston game was a good sign. Jacoby Ellsbury and Alex Rodriguez appear to be heating up. They won’t be able to carry the offense by themselves, so it’s imperative that whole lineup wakes up.
Screenshot via CBS Sports
  1. Limit Baltimore’s damage Even if a Yankee starter gives up a run or two, they could still be at risk of taking the loss because of the team’s inability to score runs. The Yankees will be facing some dangerous hitters including Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones. With the Bombers lineup in the midst of a horrific slump, the staff can’t afford to give up a lot of runs, as it will most likely be too much for them to overcome.
  1. Get Luis Severino back on track Youngster Luis Severino has been a major disappointment thus far this season. He’ll toe the rubber for game one of the series in a start that will be incredibly important for him. If he falters, will the Yankees seriously consider sending him to AAA or regulating him to the bullpen? Whatever the case may be, Severino knows that he has to perform better and soon. If Sevvy can get back on track against a division foe, it will go a long way in boosting his confidence and giving his team a chance to win.
Photo Via Noah K. Murray-USA Today Sports
Prediction
After being humiliated by the Red Sox this past weekend, the Yankees should rebound against the O’s by winning two out of three. I believe that the offense will begin to show signs of life, just as it did against David Price in the last game of the Boston series. Alex Rodriguez really looks like he’s heating up, which could be huge for the entire lineup. Now the owners of an 8-15 record, the Bombers are in unfamiliar territory in the cellar of the AL East. They’ve got to be thinking that they can’t go on like this much longer. At this point, even though it’s early in the season, any kind of win is huge for the Yankees. Facing a division rival like Baltimore could be the perfect launching pad for an offensive rebirth.

Article by: Phil Akre
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