Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Business hits: Peanuts and copyright complaints
Is Curtis Granderson's power sustainable?
The last week hasn't gone so well for the O's. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

For the first time in 2011, the Yankees will be playing a team for the second time when they visit Camden Yards this weekend. CC Sabathia gets the ball in the Friday night opener, then will be followed by Freddy Garcia in a rare Saturday night game and Ivan Nova in the third and final game on Sunday afternoon. We know there’s always a nice turnout by Yankees fans when they visit Baltimore, so it’s like home away from home.

What Have The Orioles Done Lately?

Oh boy, what a tailspin for the O’s. Since their 6-1 start they’ve lost nine of their last 11 games (including two to the Yankees last week) and have been outscored 61-37 in a perfect storm of poor pitching and poor hitting. The Yankees roll into town for the weekend series without having to worry about Jeremy Guthrie or Zach Britton; neither of Baltimore’s two best pitchers is scheduled to start any of the three games.

Orioles on Offense

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

When we last checked in on the Orioles, they were a bottom five team in all of baseball in terms of wOBA and OBP. They’ve managed to up their team wOBA from .281 to .298 since last facing the Yankees, which is no longer bottom five but is still bottom nine. The team OBP climbed a bit from .282 and now sits at .291, but that’s the second worst mark in the game, ahead of only the uber-slumping Twins.

Matt Wieters is coming into the series like a man possessed, picking up seven hits in his last five games, including two doubles and two homers. Brian Roberts is in the middle of a nine-game hitting streak, a stretch that started in the first game against the Yankees last week. He’s hitting .368/.415/.500 during that time. Robert Andino is filling in for the injured J.J. Hardy, and he has eight hits (all singles) in his last five games. Mark Reynolds (two for his last 26), Nick Markakis (three for his last 30), Luke Scott (four for his last 24), and Derrek Lee (six for his last 30) are all slumping. Adam Jones and Vlad Guerrero are neither slumping nor on fire, they’re just kinda going through the motions right now.

Orioles on the Mound

Friday: Brad Bergesen: A high school teammate of Phil Hughes, Bergesen has made two starts and one relief appearance this season, throwing two garbage time innings against the Yankees last week. He’s allowed three homers in just 10.2 IP this year, and he’s never been one to miss bats: just a 4.53 K/9 and 5.8% swing-and-miss rate in his career. Bergesen will make the Yankees put the ball in play with 88-91 mph two- and four-seamers, and every so often he’ll bust out a changeup or slider. The Bombers have put a hurtin’ on him in the past, scoring 11 runs in 17 innings against him. Pitch-to-contact pitchers usually don’t fare well against the Yankees lineup, so expect good things.

The Yankees had their way with Tillman a week ago. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Saturday: Chris Tillman: The Yankees faced Tillman in the series last week, tagging him for six runs and nine hits in just an inning-and-a-third. He held the utterly punchless Twins to three runs in 6.2 IP on Monday, but he was still missing some velocity and the results had more to do with Minnesota’s faults than his strengths. The game plan hasn’t changed one bit, just work the count and let it fly whenever Tillman makes a mistake.

Sunday: Jake Arrieta: After beating the Yankees twice in 2010, Arrieta pitched well against them last week but it was clear the Yankees made adjustments the second and third time through the order. They tagged him for five hits and three runs in the fifth and sixth innings after the young right-hander held New York to just one baserunner (a walk) over the first four innings. The Yankees should be better prepared for his two-seamer and slider heavy approach, hopefully jumping on the board a little earlier than they did last week.

Bullpen: Buck Showalter’s bullpen comes into the series pretty well rested, with only closer Kevin Gregg making as many as two appearances over the last four days. The only new face added to the ‘pen since last week is lefty specialist Clay Rapada, who replaced injured long-man Chris Jakubauskas. The middle relief/setup crew is rock solid with Jason Berken, Jim Johnson, and Koji Uehara from the right side while Mike Gonzalez takes care of business from the left. If the Yankees do what they’re supposed to do against the starters, the relievers should be nothing more than footnotes in the series.

Recommended Orioles Reading: Camden Crazies

Business hits: Peanuts and copyright complaints
Is Curtis Granderson's power sustainable?
  • Pat D

    I’d like to begin by saying, “Fuck Luke Scott.”

    That is all.

    • Yank the Frank

      I second that emotion.

      • Jerome S.


    • Tank the Frank

      How could you possibly not like a guy who keeps 140 guns in his home with kids and throws banana chips at his minority teammates?


    • Francis

      I’m no fan of Scott either but this article is definitely a good read:

      • Jerome S.

        I now hope he gets K’d thrice.

    • dkidd

      he’s gonna party like it’s 1773

      • fire levine

        Hmm I don’t see why people hate him so much. In the proper context he doesn’t seem like a bad guy. If u happen to disagree with him politically there are more eloquent ways of expressing that rather than saying. “Fuck luke scott”

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder



  • Guest

    All righties this weekend, time to get going Brett.

    Derek, please start making me feel bad for wishing Joe would put you at the bottom of the lineup. Pretty please?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      He’s going to bust out bigtime this weekend.

      (No, he’s not. But self-delusion is all I have left at this point.)</I)

      • RL


  • Yank the Frank

    I predict Swisher will hit his first home run this season, this weekend.

  • Gonzo

    I know Brett never had power, but how much of an issue is the wrist recovery at this point?

    • Monteroisdinero

      I don’t think it is at all. I saw Brett smoke several balls in ST down the right field line. I think the wrist is fine and sure the Yanks would be all over it if not.

      • NJ_Andy

        Seconded. I saw him hit a number of the fences in BP, and was kinda shocked at it actually. Guy put on a laser show.

      • Gonzo

        I am sure he’s fine. I am referring to the old baseball saying that wrist injuries have an effect for 1/2 to a full year after getting fixed.

  • dela g

    did brian matusz die? what happened to him this year?

    • Gonzo

      Jon Lester Jr. is on the DL.

      • dela g

        ah ok. thanks

  • dela g

    i am playing tonight’s game on 2k11, and the yanks scored 6 runs on 9 hits in 1.2 innings. josh rupe came and relieved bergeson

    • Tank the Frank

      Better go tell Buck Showalter the Yanks get all he calls in 2k11 too.

  • Banks

    Bergesen didn’t go to the same high school as Phil Hughes. Bergesen went to Foothill HS in Pleasanton, CA while Philly went to Foothill HS in Santa Ana.

  • Yomommasan

    4th’d. And it’s not Matusz, it’s ‘Thedouche.’

  • Monteroisdinero

    Article in USA Today (today) about Guthrie riding his bike 3 miles from his home to Camden Yards for games. Try that in the bronx!

  • Matt

    looks like it could be a rainout tonight. hopefully they get the game in.

  • Chris