Manager: Joe Girardi (9th season)
Last 10 games: 6-4
Who to watch: C Gary Sanchez (.374/.441/.798 with 11 HR, 21 RBIs), SS Didi Gregorius (.286 with 19 HR, 64 RBIs), 2B Starlin Castro (.269 with 19 HR, 64 RBIs), RHP Chad Green (2-3, 4.09 ERA), RHP Dellin Betances (2.12 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)
Season series vs. Orioles: 7-6
Inside the Yankees:
Don't look now, but here come the Yankees. Before they started a three-game series against the Orioles in the Bronx last weekend, the Yanks were 5 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East and 4 1/2 games back from the O's for the second AL wild card spot. Entering this weekend's series between the Yanks and Birds in Charm City, the Evil Empire is just 2 1/2 games away from taking over that final wild card spot from the Orioles. September baseball is indeed here.
Many counted out the Yankees about a month ago with the club going through a complete transition period. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova were traded away. Alex Rodriguez was released and Mark Teixeira announced his retirement at season's end. But now, the new young faces in New York (affectionately called the Baby Boomers) have the Yankees back in the running for at least their second straight wild card game appearance.
Catcher Gary Sanchez's historic start to his career has reignited this Yankees offense. Called up on Aug. 3, the 23-year-old put up the highest war above replacement for batters over the last month (2.4). Sanchez then became the quickest player in major league history to hit 11 home runs, hitting No. 11 last Saturday off Dylan Bundy. O's hurlers be weary: Sanchez slashed .500/.571/1.167 with two homers and five RBIs over the three games against the Orioles last weekend. Among the familiar faces returning to Camden Yards this weekend, shortstop Didi Gregorius is slashing .286/.314/.462 with 17 homers and 61 RBIs, while second baseman Starlin Castro is batting .269 with 19 homers and 64 RBIs.
Chad Green, the pitching Baby Boomer, will take the mound for tonight's opener against Bundy in a rematch of the clubs' top young pitching prospects from last Saturday. Green has made 11 appearances with seven starts this season, posting a 2-3 record and 4.09 ERA. He didn't allow a run in 9 1/3 innings as a reliever, but he has an ERA of 5.19 as a starter. Last week against the Birds, Green went 4 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits, four runs and two walks while striking out four. He gave up two homers to Chris Davis and one to Mark Trumbo.
The next two Yankees starters will be more familiar. CC Sabathia gets the ball for Saturday night's game with an 8-11 record and 4.31 ERA. The southpaw is 1-2 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts against the Orioles this season, but has thrown 12 scoreless innings over two starts at Camden Yards. Michael Pineda brings a 6-11 mark and 5.12 ERA to his Sunday afternoon start. In his lone start against the Orioles this season, the right-hander pitched six scoreless innings, giving up just five hits and two walks while striking out eight. But the 27-year-old is just 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA in five career starts at Camden Yards.