The Yankees start right-hander Hiroki Kuroda against the Orioles tonight in the series finale. He has faced the O’s three times in his career, counting the playoffs, all from last season, and has pitched seven innings or more each time.
In two regular season starts last year, he went 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA and then faced the Orioles in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, allowing just five hits and two earned runs over 8 1/3 innings.
In his last nine starts against the AL East, he is 6-1 with a 3.19 ERA. Matt Wieters is 2-for-14, Adam Jones is 3-for-10, Chris Davis is 2-for-8, J.J. Hardy is 1-for-14 and Nick Markakis is 3-for-7 against Kuroda.
Kuroda has held New York opponents scoreless in 49 of 62 innings immediately following run-scoring innings by the Yankees. Last season, he went 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 19 starts at Yankee Stadium, the AL’s seventh-best home ERA. He was 5-5 with a 4.23 ERA in 14 starts on the road.
Wei-Yin Chen, who starts for the Orioles, took the loss in the first game of this road trip Monday at Boston. Chen gave up just two hits in the first six innings of that game before giving up a three-run homer to Daniel Nava in the seventh to end a scoreless tie.
Chen’s final line showed him allowing five hits and three runs over 6 1/3 innings as he fell to 0-1. He is winless over his last nine regular season starts since beating Detroit last Aug. 19.
Wieters could use a hit or two tonight. He is batting just .189 on the year. Since going 6-for-14 in the season’s first four games, he is 1-for-23 over his last seven games. Wieters is without an RBI over his past nine games.
Some fans are already calling for Wieters to give up switch-hitting. I think there is a better chance that ESPN will decide to put the Orioles on “Sunday Night Baseball” every week, but Wieters is 3-for-27 this year against right-handed pitching for an average of .111 and OPS of .237. Last season his average and OPS was .224 and .715 against right-handers.