It is only 11 at-bats, but in that small sample, the Orioles’ Ramón Urías is batting .455 with a slugging percentage of .909 against Yankees’ right-hander Gerrit Cole.
Cole (9-2, 2.78 ERA) will face the Orioles tonight for the second time this year and for the 12th time in his career. On May 23 of this season he had one of his worst starts of the year against the Orioles, allowing five runs and six hits over five innings. Cedric Mullins and Gunnar Henderson hit solo homers that night.
But over 11 career games, Cole is 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA, a .600 OPS and a WHIP of 0.991 against the Orioles.
Urías is 5-for-11 against the six-time All-Star, who has twice finished second for the Cy Young Award. He has two doubles and a homer against Cole.
“I think for me it is about looking for something up in the zone,” he said this afternoon. “I know he is good at throwing his slider down in the zone and he can get chases with that. For me, looking up in the zone is important and look for mistakes. Every time I see the ball down, you try to lay off. And that is how I have had some success against him.”
Henderson – who hit a changeup for a homer and a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning in that May game – added, “Feel like you have to stay on the heater. He’s got a really hoppy heater and you have to combat that. Plus, he has a really solid off-speed.”
Henderson’s 404-foot homer that night gave his team a three-run lead in a game where New York would rally for a 6-5 win in 10 innings.
Urías said he is always pumped to face a frontline starting pitcher like Cole, who was the starting pitcher for the American League and threw a scoreless inning at the All-Star game.
“It’s special. I mean he is a great pitcher and is on his way to the Hall of Fame, I would think. If you can have some success against a guy like that it gives you confidence,” he said.
Urías seems to have a knack for getting the big hit. This year when batting with runners in scoring position, he is hitting .339 with a .902 OPS.
“I think it is about enjoying the moment and embracing the moment. Every time you step in the box you look to be successful and try to be calm with every at-bat. Try to not do too much,” he said about hitting in key moments.
Ryan Mountcastle is 4-for-19 against Cole with a double and four RBIs.
"You've got to make him get his pitch count up. Take some of those nasty pitches and try not to swing at them. He's a really good pitcher and we'll try our best to get him out of the game and scrap a couple of runs here and there."
Since returning from the injured list, Mountcastle is batting .333 with a .927 OPS in 12 games, going 10-for-30 with three doubles and a homer.
"I am just seeing the ball a lot better. Getting the right pitch to hit and hitting it hard lately. It feels good," he said.
And so does going into this series with the Orioles in first place and the Yankees in last place.
“Much better than a couple of years ago," said Urías. "This is my fourth season with the Orioles and for sure we had some rough seasons. But now leading the AL East feels much better and really good for sure.
“We have that confidence that we can beat any team we face. The young guys that have come to the team are so talented and they have given us a chance to win more games."