When the Yanks last faced Jason Berken on July 22, the home half of the first went a little bit something like this: double, out, single, single, out, walk, single, single, out. With a 4-0 lead after the first inning, the Yanks cruised to a 6-4 over Baltimore that night. I wouldn’t mind if the Yanks could do that again.
Anyway, offensive dreams aside, let’s preview this baby. The Yankees are going for their sixth win in a row and are playing in their home away from home. The team is 5-3 in Baltimore this season and is searching for a three-game sweep of the Orioles. In fact, the Yankees, at 11-3 against Baltimore this year, don’t just enjoy beating up the Orioles; they own Camden Yards.
To the numbers we go. At home this season, the Yankees have played 65 games. They are, as a team, hitting the cover off the ball. In those 65 games, they have scored 373 runs, have hit 119 home runs and have produced a triple slash line of .278/.364/.495. The Yanks have played in Baltimore eight times. They have scored 49 runs, have hit 19 home runs and are hitting .281/.353/.559.
Project those Baltimore numbers to 65 games, and the Yankees would have 398 runs and 154 home runs. Of course, the Yanks are helped by the fact that they have faced the Orioles’ pitchers while playing in Camden Yards, but the truth is that the Yankees are just a very good hitting team, Yankee Stadium “bandbox” aside.
On the mound tonight and looking to build off of a successful August is CC Sabathia. While we questioned Burnett’s status as the Yanks’ second starter earlier today, CC has been a true ace, and lately, he has dominated. Over his last five starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA. In 37.1 innings, he has 44 strike outs and has walked just six. Opponents have managed to hit just .194/.227/.313 off of the big lefty.
Jason Berken, the Orioles’ right-hander, is 4-11 with a 6.33 ERA. He gives up a lot of baserunners, a lot of walks and a lot of longballs. On paper, at least, this one’s a mismatch. But they don’t play the game on paper.
2 Jeter SS
18 Damon LF
33 Swisher 1B
13 Rodriguez 3B
55 Matsui DH
24 Cano 2B
53 Cabrera CF
14 Hinske RF
26 Molina C
52 Sabathia P
Number Updates: The recently called-up Michael Dunn is wearing number 31 for the Yankees this month. Dave Winfield, Tim Raines and Glenallen Hill — remember him? — want their number back.