It has been a long time since the Orioles played at Yankee Stadium. Three months, in fact. But the last trip there, unlike many others over the years, went quite well for the Orioles.
On April 30 Baltimore lost the series opener in the Bronx 2-1, but they then beat New York 7-1 and 5-0 on back-to-back nights to improve to 16-9 on the year.
The Orioles held the Yankees to three total runs in the series and it was the first time in 34 years that the Orioles held the Yankees to two runs or less in three straight games in New York.
They had last done that from May 31-Aug. 4, 1978.
In that series, the Yankees scored just three runs on 17 hits with a team batting average of .183 and only three extra-base hits. New York entered the series averaging 5.6 runs per game. Behind Jake Arrieta, the Orioles won the last game of that series by a shutout. It was the Orioles first shutout in New York since August 14, 2007.
Back in April, though, the Orioles were just one game out of first place and on their way to a 27-14 start. They are 26-35 since then, but still remain just two games out a playoff spot as this series begins.
The Yankees lost the last two games of their series with Boston and have lost seven of their past 10. But over longer stretches, the Yankees are 29-16 since June 8 and 39-20 since May 22.
New York has won 19 of its last 27 home games and it's no surprise that the Orioles go into a series in New York very much looking like the underdog and second best team in this series.
A good showing on this six-game road trip against New York and Tampa Bay could provide the Orioles momentum to keep them in the playoff race for a while, maybe until the very end of the year.
Here are the series pitching matchups:
Tonight: Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.28 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (4-4, 5.16 ERA)
Tomorrow: Chris Tillman (3-1, 1.66 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.08 ERA)
Wednesday: Zach Britton (1-0, 5.74 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.08 ERA)
The Orioles miss CC Sabathia in this series and their starter has the lower ERA in two of the three matchups.
The Orioles have beaten the Yankees in three of their last four meetings this year, outscoring them by 22-11. But they have not played since mid-May.
The Orioles held their own against New York early in the season but now it's time for another battle in the Bronx.