Here is a stat that may surprise some people: The Orioles lost just one series against the Yankees among the six they played this year. The Orioles got swept in the first series of the season at Camden Yards in April, losing two of those games in extra innings.
They never lost another extra-inning game the rest of the year after those losses on April 10 and 11.
In those six series, they went 0-3, 2-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-1 and 2-2.
You have to wonder how much the Orioles' lefty starters, Joe Saunders and Wei-Yin Chen, will factor into this series as two of New York's hottest hitters right now are lefty batters in Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki. Plus, how will the O's use their lefties in the bullpen?
Cano would have to cool off to be merely on fire right now. He has posted nine consecutive multi-hit games, going 24-for-39 for a .615 batting average. He also had seven doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs in that stretch.
But this season, Cano hit just .239 with an OPS of .646 vs. left-handed pitching, and those numbers were .359 and 1.108 against right-handers.
Cano batted .282 with three homers and eight RBIs against Baltimore pitching this season.
As for Ichiro, he batted .394 over his last 16 games with six doubles, two homers and nine RBIs. He hit .397 vs. lefty pitching this year while a Yankee, but just .236 while with Seattle. Ichiro hit .361 in 10 games this year as a Yankee against the O's.
CC Sabathia, expected to start Game 1 on Sunday night for New York, lost just six games all year, but two were against the Orioles. He went 0-2 with an ERA of 6.38 and batting average against of .312 in three starts against the Orioles in 2012.
How some O's started fared this year vs. New York:
* Chen went 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA in four starts.
* Miguel Gonzalez went 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in two starts.
* Jason Hammel went 0-1 with an ERA of 3.94 in three starts.
* Saunders went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in one start.
* Chris Tillman went 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts.
From Sept. 3-24, just one game separated the Orioles and Yankees in the standings. The Orioles never could gain sole possession of first place. That doesn't matter now as the O's have their chance to advance and eliminate the Yankees in the next five games.