Opposite dugout: As A-Rod approaches milestone, Yankees might be in trouble with Miller on DL

yankees-logo.jpgManager: Joe Girardi (8th season)

Record: 33-26

Last 10 games: 8-2

Who to watch: DH Alex Rodriguez (.270/.373/.505 with 11 HR, 29 RBIs), LF Brett Gardner (.276/.352/.433 with 27 RBIs), C Brian McCann (.264 with 9 HR, 38 RBIs), 1B Mark Teixeira (17 HR, 45 RBIs), RHP Michael Pineda (7-2, 3.33 ERA), RHP Dellin Betances (11 holds, 0.28 ERA)

Season series vs. Orioles: 4-3

Pitching probables:

June 12: RHP Michael Pineda vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, 7:05 p.m., MASN
June 13: LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Bud Norris, 7:15 p.m., FOX
June 14: RHP Adam Warren vs. TBA, 1:35 p.m., MASN

Inside the Yankees:

For Orioles fans, this could be a tough weekend to face the hated rival Yankees. The Yankees are scorching hot to start the month of June. They only began this month by winning their first seven games before finally losing to the Nationals 5-4 on Wednesday in 11 innings in a game they were winning after seven innings. They are now winners of eight of their last 10 games, averaging 5.2 runs per game while holding opponents to just 2.9 runs.

On top of the Yankees' hot streak, Camden Yards could be the site of another historic moment in baseball this weekend. Alex Rodriguez is just eight hits away from his 3,000th hit. Rodriguez will be the 29th player to achieve this milestone and the first since former teammate Derek Jeter in 2011. Now how likely is it that A-Rod gets eight hits in just three games? Probably not very likely. But consider this: he had six hits over a three-game series at the end of May against the Royals and went 4-for-5 against the Angels a week ago. Also, his 130 career hits at Camden Yards are his second most in any ballpark not home to a team Rodriguez has played for in his career (he has 136 career hits at Fenway Park). And his 270 hits against the Orioles are his most against a single team. So it is in the realm of possibility, however unlikely.

To go along with Rodriguez, the Yankees put out a high-powered lineup. They score the second-most runs and hit the third-most home runs in the majors. A good portion of that power comes from first baseman and local product Mark Teixeira. Teixeira's 45 RBIs lead the American League and his 17 home runs are tied for second behind Nelson Cruz's 18. Left fielder Brett Gardner and catcher Brian McCann are two other players to keep an eye on this weekend. Gardner is slashing .276/.352/.433 while driving in 27 runs, and McCann is posting a line of .264/.327/.477 while smacking nine homers and driving in 38 runs.

Pitching is where the Yankees could struggle in the near future. Former Oriole Andrew Miller has recorded 17 saves for the Yankees this season while posting a 1.03 ERA in 26 1/3 innings pitched. However, the lefty was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a strained left forearm. Miller had only given up three runs all season. Now righty Dellin Betances slides into the closer spot. Betances is posting a 0.28 ERA while only allowing four runs (one earned) over 32 1/3 innings pitched. But the absence of Miller still leaves a big hole in the Yankees bullpen as they look for someone to be as productive as Betances while taking over his previous spot as the setup man.

Right-hander Michael Pineda gets the ball in the series opener at Camden Yards. Pineda leads the Yankees with a 7-2 record this season and his 3.33 ERA is the best among qualified pitchers on the Yankees staff. Pineda is 2-0 in two very different starts against the Birds this season. In his first start on April 13, he gave up nine hits and five runs while striking out nine in Baltimore. The Yankees bats helped Pineda with four runs in the seventh to secure him the win. However in May, Pineda struck out a career-high 16 batters while giving up only six hits and one run in a 6-2 win over the O's.

Lefty CC Sabathia will pitch Saturday night's nationally televised game on FOX against Bud Norris. The former Cy Young winner is struggling this season, posting a 3-7 record with an uncharacteristically high 5.25 ERA. The 14-year veteran has a long history against the Orioles. Sabathia is 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA in 31 starts against Baltimore, while going 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 19 starts at Camden Yards. He had one start at the Yard on April 14, pitching seven innings and allowing seven hits and four runs while walking one and striking out seven in a 4-3 loss.

On the other hand, righty Adam Warren is not as familiar with the O's. Warren is only 1-2 in 11 career appearances against the Birds, with his only start coming this season on May 8. Warren earned a no-decision after pitching 4 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits, two runs and three walks while striking out two in a 5-4 win. He throws a 92 mph fastball 50 percent of the time, while throwing a slider 25 percent of the time and mixing in an 84 mph changeup. He does throw a 79 mph curveball, but barely 8 percent of the time. Warren has posted a 6.48 ERA in seven appearances at Camden Yards.

The Yankees dropped two out of three in their first visit to Baltimore this season in April, but they took three out of four in The Bronx in early May. New York's recent winning streak might have been extended to eight games on Wednesday had Miller been available. They had a 4-2 lead going into the eighth before Michael A. Taylor hit a two-run home run off Jacob Lindgren. Normal circumstances would have had Betances pitch the eighth and Miller the ninth. With Miller out and Betances closing games for now, the Yankees will need to find help from the offense, starters or someone else in the bullpen in order to finish off games late.

It looks like the Orioles bullpen is good again
Wrapping up a 6-5 win
 

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