Joe Girardi sets his rotation for first four games and talks about the Orioles

During a press conference here at Camden Yards a few moments ago, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Andy Pettitte will start Game 2 for the Yankees followed by Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3 and Phil Hughes in Game 4.

CC Sabathia will be on the mound for New York in the series opener tomorrow night. Here are some other comments from Girardi.

On the Orioles' improvement
"Their pitching improved. Position players improved here. Look at what their bullpen did. You know, the games you are supposed to win, they won. Last year that always wasn't the case. A lot of it has to do with the improvement of the pitching staff."

After having the Orioles chase you the last few weeks, what about facing them again now?
"I don't think there is any more pressure than if you were playing a different team. When you think about you basically have to hold off the team by one game. Our series between during the year was tied. The last four games we played here were tied. Very close number of runs scored, the ERAs, so it should be a great series."

Does the O's strong bullpen change anything you do strategically?
"No. I mean, the bottom line that we always talk about is you set your lineup to always try and beat the starter. Then you prepare yourself if they make changes. We know their bullpen is good, we understand that. We like our bullpen too. Score runs any way you can and it doesn't matter when you score them."

What makes the Orioles' bullpen so good?
"When you think about bullpens, usually what makes them stand out is their mix of lefties and righties and their ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. You think about (Jim) Johnson, he is probably not giving up home runs. (Darren) O'Day is probably not. You have a power guy in (Pedro) Strop. So there is power there, deception, left-handers and right-handers. I think it takes all those things. You have guys that have the ability to get double-play balls, guys that can get strikeouts. They work well together and (Brian) Matusz has done a really good job since they moved him to the bullpen."

Meanwhile, Sabathia was asked about his last three starts and what has gone so well for him. He has given up just four runs in 24 innings over those past three outings.

"I just feel like my command was a lot better," Sabathia said. "Being able to command the ball in is huge for me. I just think I've been throwing more strikes and that has been the biggest thing."

Sabathia is 16-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 25 career starts against the Orioles, but went 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA vs. Baltimore this year.

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