Opposite dugout: Yankees coming around as complete team to challenge O’s

yankees-logo.jpgManager: Joe Girardi (10th season)

Record: 13-7

Last 10 games: 7-3

Who to watch: 2B Starlin Castro (.346/.386/.538 with 4 HR, 14 RBIs), 3B Chase Headley (.329/.420/.543), RF Aaron Judge (.988 OPS with 7 HR, 15 RBIs), LHP CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.70 ERA), LHP Aroldis Chapman (1.23 ERA, 5 saves)

Season series vs. Orioles: 1-2

Pitching probables:

April 28: RHP Kevin Gausman vs. LHP CC Sabathia, 7:05 p.m., MASN
April 29: RHP Ubaldo Jiménez vs. RHP Michael Pineda, 1:05 p.m., MASN
April 30: LHP Wade Miley vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery, 1:05 p.m., MASN

Inside the Yankees:

When the Orioles last saw the Yankees, the Birds sent the Evil Empire home from Baltimore having lost two of three at Camden Yards and in fourth place in the American League East. In the almost three weeks since, the Yanks have been one of the hottest teams in baseball and are right on the O’s heels for the top spot in the division.

The Yankees’ one win in the teams’ first meeting of the season started an eight-game winning streak for New York, which has gone 12-3 since losing the second game in Baltimore. And it’s not just one aspect of the club that’s getting the job done; the whole team is performing at a high level heading into this weekend’s three-game series in the Bronx. Offensively, the Yankees rank first in the AL in OPS, second in slugging percentage, and third in batting average, on-base percentage and home runs. And on the mound, Yankees hurlers are first in the league in ERA, WHIP, walks, runs, earned runs and batting average against.

While standout rookie catcher Gary Sánchez prepares to start rehab games in the minors after suffering a right biceps strain on April 8, fellow rookie Aaron Judge will be the Baby Bomber to keep an eye on this weekend. The right fielder’s .988 OPS ranks seventh in the AL, while his seven longballs are tied for the league lead to go along with his 15 RBIs. Meanwhile, second baseman Starlin Castro, third baseman Chase Headly and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury are all hitting over .300. The Yankees are hoping Matt Holliday will find his swing after dealing with a bad back and are expecting to get Didi Gregorius back off the disabled list after the shortstop hurt his right shoulder in the World Baseball Classic.

CC Sabathia will start for the Yankees in the only game to be played under the lights this weekend. The left-hander produced a strong outing in his first meeting against the Orioles this season, giving up just three runs (two earned) in six innings while getting the win. Sabathia is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA so far this season. In Saturday’s matinee, Michael Pineda will try to keep his strong bounceback from his rough first start going. The righty gave up four runs in just 3 2/3 innings against the Rays in his first start of 2017. But he has produced good outings in his three starts since, now posting a 3-1 record and 3.86 ERA on the season. In his career, Pineda is 4-3 with a 4.16 ERA in 12 starts against the Orioles. Rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery will take the ball for the series finale on Sunday. In the first three starts of his career, Montgomery is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA, though has produced quality starts in each of his last two outings. He throws a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, with the heater averaging 94 mph.

And of course, in the back end of the Yankees bullpen are setup man Dellin Betances and closer Aroldis Chapman, who have combined to give up just two runs over 14 1/3 innings this season. So a late rally might be a little difficult to manage.

blog comments powered by Disqus