Manager: Joe Girardi (10th season)
Last 10 games: 7-3
Who to watch: RF Aaron Judge (.273 with 41 HR, 90 RBIs), SS Didi Gregorius (.290 with 73 RBIs, 138 hits), LF Brett Gardner (.260 with 20 HR, 141 hits), LHP CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.85 ERA), LHP Aroldis Chapman (4-3, 18 saves)
Season series vs. Orioles: 9-6
Sep. 14: LHP Wade Miley vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka, 7:05 p.m., MASN
Sep. 15: RHP Jeremy Hellickson vs. RHP Luis Severino, 7:05 p.m., MASN
Sep. 16: RHP Ubaldo Jiménez vs. LHP CC Sabathia, 4:05 p.m., MASN
Sep. 17: RHP Dylan Bundy vs. RHP Sonny Gray, 1:05 p.m., MASN
Inside the Yankees:
Crunch the numbers, and you’ll see the Yankees have a 98 percent chance of making the postseason. In fact, right now, they’re holding a 3-game lead over the Twins for the first wild card spot in the American League. But don’t tell that to manager Joe Girardi’s squad. They’re not thinking about the wild card. Though just 3 games separate them from Minnesota, the Yankees are just 3 games behind the Red Sox in the race for the AL East crown. And with 14 of their final 17 games at home -- where the team is 40-27 -- the Bronx Bombers have a legitimate shot at capturing their first division title since 2012.
By now, most Orioles fans know what the Yankees bring to the table on offense. It all starts with right fielder Aaron Judge. The rookie shot out of the gate in the first half of the season, clubbing 30 home runs and posting a .329 average. Since then, however, he’s managed to hit just .185 and endured a forgettable stretch where he tied a major league record by striking out in 37 straight games. Still, the young slugger has plenty of power and has torched the Orioles to the tune of a .449 average. Meanwhile, second baseman Starlin Castro leads the team with a .298 average and will hope to repeat the success he had against the O’s earlier this month in Baltimore. During that series, Castro hit .429 with a pair of home runs in New York’s series win. Along with Judge and Castro, the Yankees lineup features catcher Gary Sánchez (second on the team with 30 home runs) and third baseman Chase Headley (hitting a respectable .278).
It’s been an up-and-down season for tonight’s starter Masahiro Tanaka. The right-hander appeared to have gotten on a bit of a roll toward the end of August, where he won three straight decisions and registered quality starts in all of them. But a forgettable start in Texas on Sept. 8 took the wind out of his sails. In that start, Tanaka gave up seven earned runs in just four innings. Luis Severino, meanwhile, is enjoying his best season in 2017. He’s 12-6 with a 2.96 ERA and has tallied at least eight strikeouts in five straight starts. He’s faced the Orioles three times already this year, and is 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA. Familiar face CC Sabathia takes the mound Saturday opposite right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez. Sabathia has seen the Orioles plenty of times -- 41 career starts, to be exact -- but has had trouble this season vs. the Birds. Sabathia is winless on the year against Baltimore and has pitched to a 7.41 ERA in three starts. In the series finale, Sonny Gray will look to win just his fourth start since joining the Yankees at the trade deadline. Gray fared well against the Orioles in his previous outing, a 9-1 Yankees win on Sept. 7. But Gray hasn’t won consecutive decisions since July 14-19 and took the loss against the Rays in his last start despite giving up just two earned runs over eight innings.
In the bullpen, Aroldis Chapman has picked up 18 saves, most recently in yesterday’s 3-2 win over the Rays. He’s joined by four-time All-Star Dellin Betances, David Robertson and left-hander Chasen Shreve.