The Baltimore Orioles will play host to the New York Yankees for a three-game series on Tuesday night in which the visitors are favored.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have had a rocky stretch over the past two weeks, dropping eight of their last 10, including a seven-game losing streak, to fall to 80-64. This recent skid knocked New York out of Wild Card position after it had occupied the top spot with a decent gap on the rest of the field.
As fired up as Boone was, his team must not have gotten the message. Two losses to the New York Mets over the weekend will not fill the team with tons of momentum going into a road stand against the Orioles. Regardless of how bad they have been, the Orioles recently took two out of three off from the Yankees in the Bronx.
A pre-eminent factor in the late-season drop in form is an inability to manufacture runs, an area that the team thought it had fixed by acquiring Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo near the trade deadline. Now, staring down the barrel of an early vacation, New York’s power batters need to heat up against a vulnerable Baltimore pitching staff.
With the competition within the American League East for the Wild Card spots (currently belonging to American League East rivals Boston and Toronto), it is likely that the playoff race will not be settled until the final weekend.
AL Cy Young favorite Gerrit Cole (14-7, 2.78 ERA) will be on the bump for the pinstripers in their first game in Baltimore, having only gone 3.2 innings and allowing two earned runs to the Blue Jays in his last start.
With a record 46-97 that is 43 games out of first place in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles are officially the worst team in baseball. The low point in their season came in August when they lost 19 consecutive games before beating the Los Angeles Angels. They are 8-11 since that day, though they recently dropped three straight to the Blue Jays, allowing 44 runs in the process.
Baltimore has pieces on its offense that could make them competitive in the future, but its inconsistency and terrible rotation of pitchers have been the reasons for its major downfall.
Baltimore has not had anything to play for a long time and that is not going to change in this series. Realistically, it would be a major indictment against the Yankees rather than a credit to the home team if they were to suffer any defeats in this series. That being said, the Orioles have played New York to a respectable 7-9 count in the season series.
Rookie Alexander Wells (1-2, 7.15 ERA), the 23rd-ranked prospect in the Orioles’ developmental system, is expected to get the start after he tossed a four-inning, two-run game against the Kansas City Royals last week.
Regardless of how pathetic the Yankees have looked by a playoff team’s standards over recent weeks, they are still head and shoulders above the Baltimore Orioles. They should be expected, if not demanded, by their manager to win every game in the upcoming series.
New York also has an advantage heading to the top of its rotation in game one, while the Orioles will have to wait for the second matchup to get ace John Means on the mound.
With the Blue Jays nearing nuclear levels of heat and the Red Sox being their usual, tough-to-beat selves, the Yankees will severely jeopardize their playoff hopes if they cannot come out of this series with a sweep.
The Yankees should win Tuesday’s affair, though the rest of the series could come into question if they do fall in the first meeting.
The Orioles are a team looking to the future, nothing less. Do not expect them to dominate in any sense, as their only chance of winning will come from a closely-contested game.