So how will the Orioles match up with the Yankees over the next three nights?
Last season, these teams matched up very well. They split 18 regular season games and the Orioles scored 92 runs to New York's 90. They met in a hard-fought playoff series that was decided in the fifth and final game.
But right now, as they get set to open a three-game series at Camden Yards tonight, the Orioles have lost five in a row and their rotation has pitched to an ERA of 6.95 over the last nine games. Even Jim Johnson has blown has last two save chances. So, hey, they are not peaking heading into the match-up.
As for the Yankees, it was just a few weeks back, late in spring training, when many analysts said they were in total disarray and headed for a last-place finish. Of course, many of the same prognosticators had Toronto practically in the World Series.
Last year with Cleveland, Travis Hafner hit .228 with a .784 OPS. Now those numbers are .260 and .908. Vernon Wells hit .230 with a .682 OPS for the Angels last season and now those numbers are .286 and .850.
But guess what? It's about the pitching really and that is where New York is topping the Orioles right now. The Yankees' team ERA of 3.53 is second only to Texas at 3.49 in the American League and their rotation ERA of 3.59 ranks second in the league, while the Orioles are now 11th at 4.90.
The Orioles have scored 29 more runs this year than the Yankees, but it's been more about run prevention to find the difference between the teams right now.
So in this series, we begin to find out more answers for the O's starters. Can Freddy Garcia tonight reverse a two-game slide or will he continue to lose his grip on a rotation spot? How will Miguel Gonzalez look coming off the DL and is that thumb blister now a thing of the past? Can Jason Hammel finally get his fastball command back and begin to look like last year's Hammel?
There is plenty of doom and gloom out there right now, and some fans are predicting this homestand will end at 0-8.
It's going to be an interesting three nights at Camden Yards.