Network Notebook: Yankees/Orioles Series Preview

SLUMPING ORIOLES HOST FIRST PLACE YANKEES FOR BIG THREE-GAME SET IN AL EAST

 

Once again, the Baltimore Orioles were off to one of those hot runs that had everyone raving about Buck Showalter. But, a recent slump keyed by poor starting pitching has seen the O’s sinking fast in the AL East standings. Baltimore has lost seven straight, and is a woeful 3-13 its last 16 games. The first-place Yankees come to town for a three-game series that begins Monday afternoon. Great…struggling Baltimore had to fly in all the way from Houston for a DAY game!

 

Can the Orioles get things turned around against the surprising Yankees? Is it the Yanks turn to hit a wall and start sinking toward the pack? Statheads have been calling the Yanks pretenders all season…yet the runs and the wins keep piling up. 

Let’s run through JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see how things might play out the next few days.

TEAM QUALITY
NY Yankees: +58 runs, while playing 25 home games and 22 road games
Baltimore: -7 runs, while playing 22 home games and 26 road games

That big edge in run differential is only partly fueled by extra home games. Even if you adjust for that, the Yankees have been the better team so far this season. Handicappers have to determine if the team is playing over its head. It can’t be debated that it’s head is higher than Baltimore’s at this point. And, the O’s are obviously playing worse the past two weeks than they had all season. “Current form” favors the Yanks even more than full season run differential.  

TEAM OFFENSE
NY Yankees: 5.4 runs-per-game, .343 on-base, .445 slugging
Baltimore: 4.4 runs-per-game, .311 on-base, .420 slugging

The Yankees have been putting up huge offensive numbers, particularly at home where that short porch helps their dinger count. But, an on-base percentage that high is going to work anywhere. Big edge here to the Yankees.

Before we go to the probable pitchers, note that these are subject to change because of some poor recent performances. Baltimore just demoted Ubaldo Jiminez, and may do some more tinkering with its rotation. The Yankees aren’t happy with Tanaka, which gives them something to think about in the series finale Wednesday. For now, these are the projected pitchers according to ESPN’s website as of Sunday evening.

MONDAY
Montgomery: 4.30 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.4 K’s per 9 innings
Bundy: 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.4 K’s per 9 innings

Good stuff for Dylan Bundy this season. Though, that’s a low strikeout count for the modern game. Pitching to contact against the Yankees isn’t necessarily a recipe for success. Montgomery is holding his own thus far…and only has to worry about a slumping offense Monday night. Tricky one for handicappers because different priorities could yield different picks. If you love ERA, Bundy looks like a value bet. If you prefer strikeouts and big bats…then the Yankees can aid in Baltimore’s continuing fade.

TUESDAY
Severino: 3.11 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 10 K’s per 9 innings
Tillman: 4.43 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 6.6K’s per 9 innings

Big edge here. Though, it has to be said that few believe Severino can keep this level of production going for the Yanks. Tillman is a veteran whose weaknesses are known. He’s not as bad as that WHIP suggests…but he’s going to pitch to contact in a way that really hurts vs. quality opponents. The stats are screaming for Severino. If you think that’s partly a mirage…then maybe the Over would make more sense to you. Big math grading for the visitors.

WEDNESDAY
Tanaka: 5.86 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 8.5 K’s per 9 innings
Gausman: 6.17 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 6.3 K’s per 9 innings

Well, the Over is going to make a lot of sense here given those ugly earned run averages and WHIPS. Keep in mind that it is a get-away night for the Yankees who have a game scheduled in Toronto Thursday night. Sometimes that leads to rushed swings from hitters. Baltimore gets to stay home for a big weekend series against hated Boston. You can see why Baltimore has some decisions to make about its rotation. Those are just ridiculously bad WHIPS for Tillman and Gausman in these last two games…and Jiminez was so bad they just couldn’t take it any more.

All told, a big chance for the Yankees to go for the jugular in this series against a divisional threat. Baltimore is running out of time to get this mess fixed.

JIM HURLEY will likely have at least one selection in this series. If his on-site sources find something interested behind the scenes with either team…there could be more. We go get those BIG, JUICY WINNERS so we can get them to YOU!

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