It’s only been a few days since we last saw the Orioles. Baltimore took three of four from the Yankees at Camden Yards last weekend. This time, the two sides play four at Yankee Stadium.
Their Story so far
When I wrote the Yankees-Orioles series preview last week, Baltimore was 16-20 and four games behind New York. Now, they’re 20-22 and 1.5 games behind the Yanks. Things have gotten interesting, to say the least. Probably shouldn’t be, but hey, credit to the O’s for finally giving the Yankees a taste of their own medicine last weekend.
The Yankees took the first of four at Camden Yards last weekend, but the Orioles recovered quickly. The Yanks scored just five games in the last three games of the series and lost them all. That sent the Yanks packing to Buffalo, while the O’s enjoyed a day off before facing the Mets at Citi Field over the past two days.
By the end of Tuesday, the Orioles came within a half game of the Yankees. First, they won an 11-2 laugher against the Mets. The Yankees were in the midst of dropping its second straight game to the Blue Jays. But Baltimore took a step back last night while the Yankees recovered. It felt…normal! The Orioles blew a 5-1 lead and lost 7-6. That brings us to this series against the Yanks, the final time these two teams will meet in 2020.
- 1B/OF Trey Mancini: Surgery on malignant tumor
- SS Richie Martin: Wrist surgery
- OF Austin Hays: Non-displaced rib fracture
- OF Anthony Santander: Strained oblique
- LHP Wade LeBlanc: Elbow stress reaction
- RHP Shawn Armstrong: Back soreness
- RHP Alex Cobb: Undisclosed
Spotlight: D.J. “Babe” Stewart
There’s a Yankees connection here. Back in 2012, the Yankees chose Stewart with its 28th round pick. He didn’t sign and instead enrolled at Florida State. Not hard to see why the Yankees were interested: Stewart’s a burly left-handed slugger built for Yankee Stadium. Three years later, Baltimore drafted Stewart in the first round (25th overall). The Orioles actually picked him eleven spots before Ryan Mountcastle.
Stewart was never the prospect Mountcastle has become in spite of draft position. Both are bat-first players, but Stewart looks the part of a DH far more than Mountcastle. Stewart’s listed a 6-feet and 230 pounds.
Perhaps it’s the body type that’s resulted in “Babe” nickname. It might also be the fact that five of his eight hits this season have left the ballpark. This is the type of power output that the Orioles have been hoping to get from Stewart since he first debuted in 2018.
Rewinding to 2018: Stewart did well in his first taste of the majors as a September call up. In 47 plate appearances, he hit .250/.340/.550 (136 wRC+) with 3 homers. But things cratered in 2019 and early 2020. He was up and down from Triple-A last year but didn’t much when with the Orioles. Stewart batted .238/.317/.381 (82 wRC+) in 142 trips to the plate in the majors.
Stewart got off to a dreadful start this season. Through August 5th, he went 0-for-14 with six walks and eight strikeouts. He was banished to the Alternate Site thereafter. But come the trade deadline, the Orioles made a flurry of transactions and brought Stewart back up on September 1st. He’s made the most of his chances since coming back: Stewart’s reached base in 14 of 23 plate appearances including five dingers. The Yankees will need to cool off the 26 year-old power hitter over the next four games.
- Cedric Mullins, CF (.296/.352/.420, 111 wRC+)
- José Iglesias, SS (.376/.396/.505, 145 wRC+)
- Renato Núñez, DH (.252/.312/.497, 113 wRC+)
- Pedro Severino, C (.322/.400/.513, 149 wRC+)
- DJ Stewart, RF (.267/.488/.767, 225 wRC+)
- Ryan Mountcastle, LF (.383/.411/.633, 188 wRC+)
- Hanser Alberto, 2B (.311/.333/.422, 103 wRC+)
- Rio Ruiz, 3B (.228/.303/.457, 99 wRC+)
- Pat Valaika, 1B (.269/.309/.471, 107 wRC+)
- Bryan Holaday, C (.217/.250/.261, 36 wRC+)
- Chance Cisco, C (.236/.389/.458, 135 wRC+)
- Chris Davis, 1B (.122/.173/.184, -9 wRC+)
- Andrew Velazquez, SS (.179/.258/.232, 35 wRC+)
- Mason Williams, OF (.111/.111/.222, -27 wRC+)
Akin shut down the Yankees on Saturday. In 5 1/3 innings, the 26 year-old lefty surrendered 7 baserunners but didn’t allow a run. He also struck out eight batters.
Cole faced Akin last Saturday and took the loss. He cruised through five innings, but as you may recall, he unraveled in the sixth. We’re still waiting to see Cole absolutely shut down an opposing lineup. Hopefully this start is it.
Tomorrow, 7:05 p.m. EDT: TBD (likely Dean Kremer) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (vs. Orioles)
Baltimore hasn’t announced a starter yet, but Kremer is lined up for this one. He threw a gem against the Yankees in his major league debut: 6 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Hopefully some familiarity helps the Bombers this time around.
Like Cole, Tanaka pitched pretty well until the sixth inning against Baltimore last weekend. An error opened the floodgates that frame and Tanaka couldn’t stop the bleeding, though. Nonetheless, Tanaka’s been the Yankees’ most consistent starter this season and carries a 3.38 ERA into this one.
Saturday, 1:05 p.m. EDT: TBD vs. Jordan Montgomery (vs. Orioles)
No starter announced for the Orioles for this one yet.
The Yankees badly need Montgomery to turn things around. He’s pitched terribly in each of his last two starts. There was a lot of promise around Monty back in spring training and summer camp (even early this season), but he’s trending downward of late.
The Yankees knocked Means around way back in July (5 runs in 2 1/3 innings), but Baltimore’s ace has pitched better of late. In his last game, Means allowed just a run over 6 innings against the Mets. Means season-long numbers aren’t very good (6.58 ERA), but his stuff seems to have improved (+3 MPH on his fastball).
Is JA Happ…good? In his last four starts, the veteran lefty has a 2.59 ERA and 3.59 FIP in 24 1/3 innings pitched. That’s an extreme small sample alert, but there’s no question that the Yankees will take it. More of that, please.
RHP: Hunter Harvey, Travis Lakins Sr., Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate, Cesar Valdez, Carson Fulmer, Tom Eshelman, Asher Wojciechowski
LHP: Tanner Scott, Paul Fry
Baltimore’s bullpen was busy yesterday. Harvey (11 pitches), Scott (17), Fry (18), and Tate (7) all pitched. I wouldn’t necessarily rule any of them out for tonight. Everyone else is rested.
It’s time to go on a run and put Baltimore in the team’s rear view mirror for good. Since this is the last time the Yankees will see them this year, it’s pivotal to put the Orioles to bed. Otherwise, they’ll have to continue scoreboard watching until the very end of the month.