When the Orioles faced the Yankees last weekend, they pitched very well against New York. The Yankees’ team average was just .167 in that series, and the Birds held that lineup to just 15 hits over 90 at-bats in three games. The AL’s fourth highest scoring team was held to eight total runs.
While the Orioles hit six homers in that series, New York had just four extra-base hits in the series and went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Obviously the Orioles would sign up for pitching like that in this four-game series right now.
Here are the pitching matchups for the next four days:
Tonight: Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.54 ERA) vs. David Phelps (3-4, 3.13 ERA)
Friday: Wei-Yin Chen (12-8, 3.79 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (13-12, 4.18 ERA)
Saturday: Joe Saunders (1-1, 4.63 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (13-4, 3.42 ERA)
Sunday: Zach Britton (5-1, 4.15 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (7-6, 5.09 ERA)
Last weekend, the Orioles’ three starters - Miguel Gonzalez, Chen and Chris Tillman - pitched to an ERA of 2.70. While only one of those three will start in this series, I like the rotation the Orioles are rolling out this weekend.
It starts with their two best pitchers over the course of this season. Hammel and Chen have come up huge for this team time after time. Yes, Hammel has not pitched in a big league game since July 13, but I just see him finding a way to gut out six or seven quality innings tonight. Bet the Orioles are just thrilled to have him back.
Saunders goes Saturday and has a 6.28 ERA in five career starts vs. New York. But he is coming off an outing where he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless at Toronto and is taking some momentum into this start.
As for Britton, he is pitching, not only as well as anyone in the Orioles’ rotation right now, probably about as well as anyone in baseball over his last four starts.
The Orioles will start three consecutive lefties starting tomorrow. The current Yankees on their roster are batting a collective .255 with a slugging percentage of .437 vs. southpaws, and those numbers are .264 and .457 vs. right-handed pitching.
As the chase for first place comes to Baltimore, it looks like the Orioles’ rotation may be up for the challenge.