10/2 to 10/4 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Hurricane Joaquin

Welcome to the final regular season series of 2015. The season seems to move a little quicker with each passing year, doesn’t it? The Yankees are in Baltimore for a three-game set with the Orioles. They are 10-8 against the O’s this year, including 2-4 at Camden Yards. Those games were played a long time ago and under much different circumstances. The Orioles are just looking to get out of town now.

The weather has the potential to create some havoc this weekend. Not just for the Yankees, but all around baseball. Hurricane Joaquin is making its way up the East Coast, and, as you can see from the map above, no one has any idea which way it’s heading. The weather in Baltimore this weekend could be legitimately dangerous hurricane conditions or only a few showers. Hopefully it’s the latter, mostly for non-baseball reasons. These games do have postseason implications though — the Yankees have clinched a postseason spot but still need to clinch home field advantage — so MLB will figure out a way to get them in.

What Have The O’s Done Lately?

The Orioles were eliminated from postseason contention earlier this week, though it was clear they were out of the race a few weeks ago. They checked out for the season last month. The O’s have won two of their last seven games and they come into the final series at 78-81 with a +7 run differential.

Offense & Defense

The Orioles have been just about average at the plate this year. They’ve scored 4.35 runs per game with a team 94 wRC+, mostly because they don’t get on base (.304 OBP, third worst). They do hit homers though (210, third most). OF Adam Jones (109 wRC+) hasn’t played in a few days due to back stiffness and might sit out the weekend as well. Or maybe he’ll start a game and get pulled after one at-bat so the home fans can give him an ovation, something like that. Otherwise the O’s are healthy.

Davis & Machado. (Steven Ryan/Getty)
Davis & Machado. (Steven Ryan/Getty)

Even with Jones banged up, manager Buck Showalter has two star caliber hitters in his lineup in 3B Manny Machado (134 wRC+) and 1B Chris Davis (143 wRC+). Machado just turned 23 and he’s hitting .287/.360/.498 with 33 homers this year. Quietest “hey guys I’m a superstar” season ever? Maybe. Davis has 45 homers, by the way. C Matt Wieters (94 wRC+), SS J.J. Hardy (45 wRC+!), 2B Jonathan Schoop (112 wRC+), and OF Gerardo Parra (103 wRC+) are the other regulars you’ll recognize.

1B/OF Steve Pearce (96 wRC+), OF Nolan Reimold (91 wRC+), and UTIL Ryan Flaherty (76 wRC+) have been playing regularly this month while C Caleb Joseph (88 wRC+) has split time behind the plate with Wieters. The crop of September call-ups includes C Steve Clevenger, IF Paul Janish, 1B Christian Walker, OF Dariel Alvarez, OF Junior Lake, and OF David Lough.

The O’s have a pretty good team defense when at full strength. Machado, Hardy, Jones, Parra, and Wieters are all above-average to great defenders, and Davis is pretty good at first too. Others like Schoop and Reimold are okay in the field.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7pm ET): RHP Luis Severino (No vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (vs. NYY)
The 30-year-old Chen made his first big league start against the Yankees four years ago — the first batter he faced, Derek Jeter, took him deep (video) — and it looks like he’s going to make his final start with the Orioles against the Yankees as well. Chen is a free agent after the season and a Scott Boras client, which might price him out of Baltimore. He has a 3.35 ERA (4.18 FIP) in 30 starts and 185.1 innings this season, posting a good walk rate (5.0%), an average strikeout rate (19.6%), and below-average grounder (40.8%) and homer (1.36 HR/9) rates. Righties (.351 wOBA) have hit him a ton harder than lefties (.250 wOBA) this summer. Chen operates with low-90s two and four-seamers, low-80s changeups and sliders, and a low-70s curveball. The slider is his go-to offspeed pitch. The Yankees have seen Chen four times this season: two runs in six innings in April, one run in seven innings in May, three runs in 6.1 innings in July, and five runs in five innings in September.

Saturday (7pm ET): TBA vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. NYY)
Jimenez, 31, is wrapping up the second year of his four-year contract with the Orioles. Year two (4.10 ERA and 4.04 FIP in 178 innings) has gone a lot better than year one (4.81 ERA and 4.67 FIP in 125.1 innings). Ubaldo has an above-average grounder rate (49.3%) while his strikeout (21.1%), walk (8.5%), and homer (1.01 HR/9) numbers are average-ish across the board. He has a slight reverse split this year (.329 vs. .309 wOBA in favor of righties) that is out of line with the rest of his career. Jimenez’s out pitch is a mid-80s splitter. He sets it up with low-90s two and four-seamers, and will also throw low-80s sliders and mid-70s curves. The curve is his distant fifth pitch. Ubaldo has seen the Yankees three times in 2015. One start was good (three runs in seven innings), one start was okay (three runs in five innings), and one start was ugly (seven runs in 2.1 innings).

Tillman. (Mitchell Layton/Getty)
Tillman. (Mitchell Layton/Getty)

Sunday (3pm ET): TBA vs. RHP Chris Tillman (vs. NYY)
The Opening Day starter is also getting the ball in Game 162. Tillman, 27, has had his worst season as a big leaguer in 2015, throwing 167.2 innings across 30 starts with a 5.05 ERA (4.48 ERA). His strikeout rate (16.1%) is way down and everything else is average: 8.4 BB%, 44.0 GB%, and 1.07 HR/9. Tillman has a reverse split (.352 vs. .302 wOBA in favor of righties) that is in line with the rest of his career, though not to this extreme. His fastball sits in the low-90s, his cutter a notch below that, and his trademark curveball sits in the mid-70s. He’ll also throw a mid-80s sliders and changeups. Believe it or not, the Yankees have faced Tillman just once this season. They scored four runs in 5.2 innings against him back in May.

Since this is the final series of the season, the pitching situation is subject to change. The Yankees are listing TBAs for Saturday and Sunday so they can set things up for the postseason. (Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova are lined up to pitch those day.) The Orioles could decide to simply shut their guys down and get a look at some kids. There’s also the rain too. They might not want to run their regulars out there on a wet final in the final series of the year.

Bullpen Status
Way back in April, Baltimore’s bullpen was a major weakness that contributed to their sluggish start. They turned it around and have had one of the best bullpens in the game over the last few months, with closer LHP Zach Britton (1.98 ERA/2.01 FIP) and setup man RHP Darren O’Day (1.54/2.42) the stars of the show. LHP Brian Matusz (2.94/3.59) is the primary lefty and RHP Mychal Givens (1.88/1.81) has pitched his way into high-leverage work of late.

RHP Brad Brach (2.77/3.44), LHP T.J. MacFarland (4.82/4.64), RHP Chaz Roe (4.14/3.87), and Rule 5 Draft pick RHP Jason Garcia (4.25/4.89) have been regulars in the bullpen most of the year. The list of September call-ups includes RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Jorge Rondon, RHP Tyler Wilson, and RHP Mike Wright. Wilson, McFarland, Givens, Brach, Matusz, O’Day, and Britton all pitched yesterday. Our Bullpen Workload page can keep you updated on Joe Girardi‘s bullpen. Head over to Camden Chat for the latest on the O’s.

Yankeemetrics: Baltimore chopped (Sept. 7-9)

A-Rod's historic 30th homer (mlb.com)
A-Rod‘s historic 30th homer (mlb.com)

Comeback kids
The Yankees earned their 37th comeback win of the season on Monday afternoon against the Orioles, thanks to the heroics of the two youngest guys in the lineup (John Ryan Murphy and Greg Bird) plus some help from the oldest guy in the lineup (Alex Rodriguez).

A-Rod sliced the O’s lead to 4-3 in the fifth inning with a solo homer before Murphy’s two-run shot later in the inning gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Murphy finished the game 2 for 4, raising his batting average against the Orioles this season to .529 (9 for 17), the second-highest by any player (min. 15 at-bats).

After Manny Machado evened the game at 5-5 in the seventh inning, Bird responded in the bottom of the frame with a tie-breaking three-run blast that ended up as the game-winner. Before Bird, the last Yankee first baseman with a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium was Don Mattingly on Aug. 31, 1993.

Dellin Betances is no stranger to doing amazing things on the mound, but his 27-pitch performance was more weird than spectacular. He faced six batters in the eighth inning, walking three and striking out three without giving up a run. Betances is the only Yankee reliever in the Divisional Era (since 1969) to put together an inning with at least three strikeouts, three walks and no runs allowed.

Wasted gem
There are ugly wins and there are ugly losses … and Tuesday’s game definitely qualifies as the latter. Masahiro Tanaka delivered one of his best performances of the season, but the Yankees managed just six hits (five singles) and went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, resulting in a rare loss for the Yankees in a game where their starter was so brilliant.

This is the first time the Yankees lost a game in which their starting pitcher went at least eight innings, allowed no more than one run and struck out at least 10 batters since Aug. 24, 1990. Tim Leary was the unlucky guy in that l-0 loss to the Brewers more than 25 years ago.

The offense was brutal aside from the bat of Alex Rodriguez, who reached yet another milestone when he sent a 98 mph fastball over the fences in the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1. That pitch was the fastest one he’s ever homered against since Pitch F/X tracking began in 2008.

It was also his 30th homer of the season and the 15th time in his career he’s reached that mark, tying Hank Aaron for the most 30-homer seasons in MLB history. And, at the age of 40 years and 43 days, he became the second-oldest player to hit his 30th homer of the season. Only Darrell Evans (40 years and 115 days) was older than A-Rod at the time he hit No. 30 in 1987.

Boo birds
The Yankees certainly gave their fans plenty to boo about on Wednesday night, dropping the rubber game of this series against the sub-.500 Orioles thanks to some sloppy defense and yet another listless performance by the offense.

Carlos Beltran was the only Yankee who could solve the Orioles’ enigmatic starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Beltran was 2 for 3 against Jimenez, driving in all three of the Yankees runs; Jimenez held the rest of the Yankees lineup to just two hits in his seven innings of work. Beltran is now 9 for 23 (.391) against Jimenez, the highest batting average by any player that has faced him at least 25 times.

Beltran’s solo homer in the bottom of the first inning — his 15th of the season — tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning. That blast gave him 10 career seasons with at least 15 home runs and 30 doubles, matching Chipper Jones for the most such seasons all-time among switch hitters.

9/7 to 9/9 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

(David Banks/Getty)
(David Banks/Getty)

Another division rival visits the Bronx. The Orioles come to town clinging to very remote postseason hopes while the Yankees are very much in the race and in need of every possible win. Big series. They’re all big series from here on out. The Yankees are 8-5 against the O’s this season, including 6-1 at Yankee Stadium. The home team has won all four series these two clubs have played in 2015.

What Have The Orioles Done Lately?

Boy, manager Buck Showalter’s team has collapsed big time the last few weeks. They have lost 14 of their last 17 games and are now 65-71 with a +26 run differential overall this season. They’re 11.5 games back of the second place Yankees in the AL East and 6.5 games back of a wildcard spot. Doesn’t look like there will be October baseball in Baltimore this year.

Offense & Defense

The O’s average 4.34 runs per game with a 97 team wRC+, so they’re an approximately league average offense this year. They hit a lot of homers (fourth in baseball with 179) but they don’t get on base (27th in baseball with a .305 OBP). The O’s are currently without SS J.J. Hardy (groin), who is not expected to return this series. C Matt Wieters (90 wRC+) is day-to-day with a sore wrist.

(Jamie Squire/Getty)
Jones. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

Showalter has three star caliber producers in the middle of his lineup: IF Manny Machado (132 wRC+), OF Adam Jones (116 wRC+), and 1B Chris Davis (140 wRC+). Davis leads all of baseball with 40 home runs, including 21 homers in his last 44 games. He’s a monster. Machado, by the way, has been playing some shortstop with Hardy out. He came up through the minors as a shortstop. Those three are the core of the O’s lineup.

Yankees killer IF Jonathan Schoop (118 wRC+) has been playing second everyday and C Caleb Joseph (101 wRC+) has played a ton this year thanks to Wieters’ injuries. OF Gerardo Parra (117 wRC+) hasn’t had much impact since being acquired at the deadline (60 wRC+ with the O’s) and UTIL Steve Pearce (84 wRC+) has been unable to repeat last season’s success. UTIL Jimmy Paredes (99 wRC+) predictably crashed back to Earth following his hot start. IF Ryan Flaherty (78 wRC+) is the utility infielder. OF Junior Lake, OF Nolan Reimold, IF Paul Janish, and C Steve Clevenger are the September call-ups.

The O’s have a pretty good defensive club, though they’ve somehow picked up the reputation for being one of the best defensive units in the game. Jones and Parra are great in the outfield and Machado is unreal at third (haven’t seen him much at short), plus Davis is underrated at first and Wieters is a stud behind the plate. Others like Schoop, Pearce, and Paredes are in the lineup for their bats, not their gloves. Well, Schoop’s okay. That’s not fair to him.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (1pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (vs. NYY)
This has been a solid contract year for the 30-year-old Chen, who has pitched to a 3.36 ERA (4.37 FIP) in 26 starts and 160.2 innings. His walk rate (5.3%) is very good, his strikeout rate (19.4%) is about average, and both his grounder (40.7%) and homer (1.46 HR/9) rates are worse than average. Righties (.347 wOBA) have hit him a ton harder than lefties (.277 wOBA) this season. Chen operates with low-90s two and four-seamers, low-80s changeups and sliders, and a low-70s curveball. The slider is his go-to offspeed pitch. The Yankees have faced Chen three times this season: two runs in six innings in April, one run in seven innings in May, and three runs in 6.1 innings in July.

Tuesday (7pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (vs. NYY)
The O’s have not had much success getting their top pitching prospects to fulfill their potential over the last two decades or so, and the 24-year-old Gausman is no different. He has a 4.59 ERA (4.46 FIP) in 12 starts and eight relief appearances this season. Like Chen, he has a good walk rate (5.7%), an average strikeout rate (20.1%), and below-average grounder (43.6%) and homer (1.53 HR/9) rates. Gausman has a big reverse split: righties have a .362 wOBA against him while lefties have a .294 wOBA. A mid-90s four-seamer sets up his mid-80s changeup and low-80s slider, the latter of which he’s yet to really develop a feel for since being the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Yankees have seen Gausman twice this year, scoring two runs in two-thirds of an inning of relief in April, and then scoring four runs in a six-inning start in July.

Gausman. (Ronald Martinez/Getty)
Gausman. (Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Wednesday (7pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. NYY)
These are the same three starters — in the same order — the Yankees faced when they swept the O’s at Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago, effectively knocking them out of the AL East race. Jimenez, 31, has a 4.24 ERA (4.11 FIP) in 153 innings spread across 27 starts this season. His 49.2% ground ball rate is better than the league average, but otherwise his strikeout (20.9%), walk (8.5%), and homer (1.06 HR/9) numbers are average or slightly worse. Ubaldo’s platoon split is relatively small (.333 vs. .320 wOBA in favor of righties) because his out pitch is a mid-80s splitter, which helps him neutralize lefties. Jimenez sets the split up with low-90s two and four-seamers, and will also throw low-80s sliders and mid-70s curves. The curve is his distant fifth pitch. Ubaldo has faced the Yankees twice in 2015. One start went okay (three runs in five innings) and the other was a disaster (seven runs in 2.1 innings).

As for the Yankees, Sabathia (knee) is tentatively scheduled to come off the DL to make Wednesday’s start. That depends on how he feels following today’s bullpen session. If he has some sort of problem, Joe Girardi said the Yankees would simply stay on rotation, meaning Luis Severino would get the ball on normal rest instead.

Bullpen Status
Showalter’s bullpen was a disaster early in the season, though they settled down in the middle of the summer and now have a 2.93 ERA (3.36 FIP) overall. Closer LHP Zach Britton (2.00 ERA/1.92 FIP) and setup man RHP Darren O’Day (1.71/2.73) are among the top end-game duos in baseball this year. LHP Brian Matusz (2.25/3.17) is the primary left-on-left matchup guy. Ex-Yankee RHP Chaz Roe (3.65/3.55) has had some success this year around injury.

RHP Brad Brach (2.58/3.48), LHP T.J. MacFarland (4.13/4.53), and Rule 5 Draft pick RHP Jason Garcia (4.62/5.16) are the other regulars in Showalter’s bullpen. RHP Mychal Givens (1.42/1.83 in limited time) has seen a lot of work of late. The crop of September call-ups includes RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Steve Johnson, and RHP Jorge Rondon. Johnson, Matusz, Roe, Brach, Garcia, and Drake all pitched a bit yesterday. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi’s bullpen, then check out Camden Chat for the latest on the Orioles.

7/21 to 7/23 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles


We’re now into the dog days of summer, and this week the Yankees will play a fairly important three-game series at home against the Orioles. Every intra-division series from here out will be super important. The Yanks and O’s have split ten games this season, though the Yankees took three of four at Yankee Stadium back in May. The other six games were in Camden Yards.

What Have The O’s Done Lately?

Baltimore had an off-day yesterday like the Yankees. They took two of three from the Tigers over the weekend in their first series of the season half after losing ten of 13 to close out the first half. The O’s are 46-45 overall with a +44 run differential. They’re in second place in the division and four games back of New York. So no matter what happens this series, the Yankees will be in first place when it’s over.

Offense & Defense

Manager Buck Showalter’s offense is a tick above-average, scoring 4.42 runs per game thanks to a team 102 wRC+. They are perfectly healthy on the position player side. No one on the DL or even day-to-day.

Machado. (Presswire)
Machado. (Presswire)

OF Adam Jones (129 wRC+) is the big name, and 1B Chris Davis (116 wRC+) hit all those home runs a few years ago, but 3B Manny Machado (149 wRC+) is the O’s best player. He’s already set career highs in homers (20) and stolen bases (13) and is still only 23. He just turned 23 earlier this month too. Machado is very quietly having a “hey guys, I’m a superstar now” breakout season. Also, Davis has been playing right field of late.

Ex-Yankees farmhand UTIL Jimmy Paredes (118 wRC+) is still having an inexplicably good season while 1B/OF Steve Pearce (87 wRC+) hasn’t been able to repeat last year’s effort. C Matt Wieters (95 wRC+) is back from Tommy John surgery but isn’t playing everyday just yet. They’re easing him back into things. SS J.J. Hardy (61 wRC+) and IF Jonathan Schoop (177 wRC+ in very limited time) are the middle infield combo. Schoop came back off the DL recently, just in time to get back to killing the Yankees.

OF Nolan Reimold (99 wRC+ in limited time), OF Travis Snider (96 wRC+), and OF David Lough (70 wRC+) are the other outfielders who seem to take turns playing each game. C Caleb Joseph (94 wRC+) splits time with Wieters and both IF Ryan Flaherty (92 wRC+) and 1B/OF Chris Parmelee (107 wRC+) are the bench players. The O’s have great defenders in center (Jones), on the left side of the infield (Hardy and Machado), and behind the plate (Wieters). The defense is average to poor most other spots.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (7pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (vs. NYY)
I didn’t realize the 30-year-old Chen will be a free agent after the season. He’d had a good walk year (2.78 ERA and 4.19 FIP in 110 innings) and should land himself a nice little contract. Chen’s strikeout rate (20.4%) is about average but he’s allowed fewer walks (5.7%) and gets fewer grounders (40.4%) than the league average hurler. His homer rate (1.39 HR/9) is sky high and righties (.307 wOBA) have hit him harder than lefties (.290 wOBA). Chen operates with low-90s two and four-seamers, low-80s changeups and sliders, and a low-70s curveball. The slider is his go-to offspeed pitch. The Yankees have seen Chen twice this year, scoring two runs in six innings in April and one run in seven innings in May.

Wednesday (7pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (vs. NYY)
Gausman, 24, looks like the next great O’s pitching prospect who is going to fall short of his ceiling. This club hasn’t had a top pitching prospect max out since Mike Mussina. Gausman missed time with a shoulder injury and has bounced up and down between Triple-A and MLB this season, pitching to a 5.00 ERA (3.87 FIP) in only 27 big league innings. His peripherals are average-ish across the board: 21.2 K%, 7.6 BB%, 43.9 GB%, and 1.00 HR/9. Lefties (.367) have had way more success against Gausman than righties (.258 wOBA), both this year and in his career. A mid-90s four-seamer sets up his mid-80s changeup and low-80s slider, the latter of which he’s yet to really develop a feel for since being the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft. Gausman has faced the Yankees once this year, allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning in relief.

Ubaldo. (Presswire)
Ubaldo. (Presswire)

Thursday (1pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. NYY)
It appears Good Ubaldo has shown up this season. The 31-year-old has a 3.29 ERA (3.49 FIP) in 104 innings this summer with a good strikeout rate (23.4%) and average walk (7.3%), grounder (46.6%), and homer (0.95 HR/9) numbers. Jimenez has a reverse split (.318 vs. .293 wOBA in favor of righties), which is typical of his good years, because his out pitch is a mid-80s splitter. He sets it up with low-90s two and four-seamers, and will also throw low-80s sliders and mid-70s curves. The curve is his distant fifth pitch. The Yankees have faced Ubaldo just once this year, scoring three runs in five innings last month.

Bullpen Status
Showalter’s bullpen started the season horribly but has gotten better the last few weeks and months. They currently have a 2.84 ERA (3.41 FIP) as a unit. Closer LHP Zach Britton (1.67 ERA/1.76 FIP) has the best sinker in baseball and is set up by RHP Darren O’Day (1.04/2.86). Both of those dudes were All-Stars. LHP Brian Matusz (2.43/3.63) is the situational lefty.

RHP Tommy Hunter (4.08/3.36) and ex-Yankee RHP Chaz Roe (2.48/2.95) are the middle innings righties along with RHP Brad Brach (3.02/3.06). RHP Bud Norris (6.82/5.65) lost his rotation spot a few weeks back and has been pitching in long relief. Head over to our Bullpen Workload for the status of New York’s bullpen, then check out Camden Chat for updates on the O’s.

Yankeemetrics: No sweep for you (June 12-14)

Welcome to The Show, Mason. (AP Photo)
Welcome to The Show, Mason. (AP Photo)

Orange crushed
So maybe that plan to skip Michael Pineda’s last start in order preserve his innings this season wasn’t the best idea. Sure, it might pay off in the long run, but in the short-term, it was really costly for the Yankees.

Pineda was rocked for six runs (five earned) on nine hits in Friday night’s 11-3 loss, and was pulled after getting one in the fifth inning. He is now 1-7 with a 4.23 ERA on six-plus days’ rest in his career, more than a full run higher than his ERA in all other games (20-11, 3.00 ERA).

The lone highlight of the game was the debut of Mason Williams, who joined a few notable names when Joe Girardi wrote his name on the lineup card as the starting center fielder for his first major-league game. The other Yankees to do that in the last 30 years were Melky Cabrera (2005), Bernie Williams (1991), Deion Sanders (1989) and Roberto Kelly (1987).

Williams wasted little time in showing why he deserved the call-up, getting his first big-league hit and home run with one swing of the bat in the fourth inning. His two-run blast was a historic one, making him just the ninth Yankee to homer in his first major-league game.

Only three others in that group, though, hit their milestone homer with at least one guy on base like Williams did: Marcus Thames (June 2, 2002 off Randy Johnson!), John Miller (Sept. 11, 1966) and Yogi Berra (Sept. 22, 1946).

Wild, wild, wild Martin
Somehow, someway, the Yankees keep finding new ways to lose games. On Saturday night, the goat was Chris Martin, who entered in relief of CC Sabathia in the sixth inning when the teams were locked in a 4-4 tie.

Martin then uncorked three (!) wild pitches in the frame and allowed three runs, and the Yankees could never recover in the 9-4 loss. Martin had thrown only one wild pitch in his career before this game … because, of course, baseball.

Oh, and he is just the second Yankee reliever in the last 100 seasons to throw at least three wild pitches in a game. The other was Ken Clay on July 28, 1979 against the Brewers.

Sabathia’s recent struggles at Camden Yards continued (4 R, 8 H, 5 IP) as he got the no-decision and is 0-5 in his last eight starts in Baltimore. That is tied with Stan Bahnsen (1968-71) for the longest road winless streak by a Yankee starting pitcher against the Orioles since the team moved to the Charm City in 1954.

The Orioles pounded all the Yankee pitchers for the second straight night, with 15 hits to go along with their nine runs. It is the first time the Yankees have allowed at least nine runs and 15 hits in back-to-back games against the Orioles since 1932 — when the team was known as the St. Louis Browns.

Losing streak is Ooooooh-ver
The Yankees avoided the series sweep on Sunday afternoon with a come-from-behind 5-3 win. John Ryan Murphy’s tie-breaking two-run double in the fifth inning was the game-winning hit, and the bullpen pitched 4 1/3 hitless innings to secure the victory.

Murphy is the first Yankees catcher to have at least three hits and two RBI in a road game against the Orioles since Thurman Munson on Sept. 5, 1976.

Once again, a Yankees starter failed to give them length, yet they still managed to win the game thanks to their dominant relief corps. It was the fifth time in 2015 the Yankees won a game despite their starter pitching fewer than five innings. No other team in baseball has won more such games this season.

6/12 to 6/14 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles


The Yankees start their annual stretch of 20 games in 20 days — every team does the 20-in-20 thing once a year — this evening at Camden Yards. They’re in Baltimore to start a three-game weekend series with the Orioles. The O’s took two of three from the Yankees at Camden Yards in April while the Yankees took three of four from the Orioles at Yankee Stadium in May.

What Have The O’s Done Lately?

The Orioles just swept the Red Sox and have won four straight games and six of their last seven, so they’re on a hot streak. Baltimore is 29-30 with a +4 run differential overall, good for fourth place in the AL East. They’re four games back of the Yankees, who have a two-game division lead over the second place Rays.

Offense & Defense

With an average of 4.10 runs per game and a team 98 wRC+, manager Buck Showalter has basically an average MLB offense at his disposal. They do hit a fair amount of home runs (65, seventh most in MLB) but struggle to get on base (.308, tenth worst). Their only injured position player is Yankees killer IF Jonathan Schoop, who will miss another month or so with a knee injury. Hard to believe the Yankees are catching a break when a guy with a career 72 wRC+ will miss the series. Schoop straight up kills them.

Davis. (Presswire)
Davis. (Presswire)

As always, Baltimore’s lineup is anchored by OF Adam Jones (141 wRC+), who is simply one of the best players in the game. Yeah, he never walks (4.6%), but he does everything else. Such a good player. UTIL Jimmy Paredes (120 wRC+) has predictably cooled down following his insane start, though 3B Manny Machado (121 wRC+) and 1B Chris Davis (113 wRC+) have been productive all year. Davis will strike out a ton (33.2%), but, if you make a mistake, he’s going to flick his wrists and hit it a mile. Unreal power.

SS J.J. Hardy (38 wRC+), OF Travis Snider (93 wRC+), OF Delmon Young (90 wRC+), and 2B Ryan Flaherty (119 wRC+) are playing every day — yes, Young is the everyday right fielder now — while UTIL Steve Pearce (75 wRC+) has had his playing time scaled back because he isn’t hitting. C Matt Wieters (135 wRC+ in very limited time) recently returned from Tommy John surgery and has played a handful of games. C Caleb Joseph (90 wRC+), OF Nolan Reimold (228 wRC+ in very limited time), and OF David Lough (50 wRC+) are the other bench players.

The Orioles are solid defensively, probably not as good as their reputation, but still solid overall. Jones, Hardy, Machado, and Wieters are studs while Young is a total disaster. Flaherty, Davis, and Snider are fine. Not great, not terrible. This will be a good series for all those left-handed pull hitters the Yankees have. Hit it to Delmon.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Michael Pineda (Career vs. BAL) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (Career vs. NYY)
The 31-year-old Jimenez has turned things around from last season and is having a good year in 2015, though with Ubaldo you never really know when the other shoe will drop. He is the most unpredictable pitcher in baseball. Jimenez has a 3.03 ERA (3.38 FIP) in eleven starts and 62.2 innings with average-ish strikeout (22.9%), walk (8.4%), ground ball (49.1%), and home run (0.72 HR/9) rates. Lefties (.301 wOBA) have had a little more success against him than righties (.286 wOBA). These days Ubaldo sits right around 90 mph with his four-seamer and a touch below that with a two-seamer. A mid-80s splitter is his go-to offspeed pitch, and he’ll also throw some low-80s sliders per start. It’s not the same power stuff he had with the Rockies back in the day. That Yankees haven’t seen Jimenez yet this year. Also, Pineda will be making his first start in almost two weeks after having his last turn skipped to control his workload.

Saturday: LHP CC Sabathia (Career vs. BAL) vs. RHP Bud Norris (Career vs. NYY)
Norris, 30, missed about a month with bronchitis recently, and this will be his second start off the DL. He’s been dreadful this year, pitching to an 8.63 ERA (4.84 FIP) in seven starts and 32.1 innings. The peripherals aren’t all that good (16.6 K%, 9.1 BB%, 39.6 GB%, 1.11 HR/9) and lefties (.459 wOBA) have absolutely crushed him. Righties have a more respectable .311 wOBA. Norris is basically a two-pitch pitcher, using his low-to-mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider about 95% of the time combined. He’ll show a changeup on rare occasions. The Yankees have seen Norris twice this season, scoring three runs in five innings in early-April and then four runs in 3.1 innings early-May.

Wright. (Presswire)
Wright. (Presswire)

Sunday: RHP Adam Warren (Career vs. BAL) vs. TBA
This start is expected to go to righty Mike Wright, unless he’s needed out of the bullpen tonight, in which case the O’s would change plans for Sunday. Wright, a 25-year-old rookie, filled in when Norris was out, and Miguel Gonzalez’s recent groin strain means he’ll stick around a little longer. Wright has a 2.96 ERA (4.67 FIP) in four starts and 24.1 innings, and in those four starts he hasn’t struck anyone out (16.5%), hasn’t walk anyone (4.1%), hasn’t gotten many ground balls (43.2%), and has given up a bunch of homers (1.48 HR/9). Wright has had major problems with lefties (.372 wOBA) but no issues with righties (.213 wOBA) in his limited time as a big leaguer. He’s a mid-90s fastball guy and he throws his four-seamer a lot, almost 70% of the time. Mid-80s sliders, low-80s changeups, and upper-70s curves round out his repertoire, though none of them are out pitches. “He doesn’t have a put-away pitch or the stuff to elevate as a starter,” wrote Baseball America (subs. req’d) when they ranked Wright as Baltimore’s eighth best prospect before the season.

The Yankees, meanwhile, rearranged their rotation ever so slightly this weekend. They flipped Sabathia and Warren to give Warren an extra day of rest. He’ll be on seven day’s rest Sunday thanks to the off-days this week. Warren has already thrown 64.1 innings this season after throwing 78.2 innings last year and 74 innings the year before that. His career high is 155 innings back in 2012. The Yankees not only want to make sure Warren stays healthy, but also make sure he doesn’t run out of gas in August and September.

Bullpen Status
The O’s have typically had a strong bullpen during the Showalter era, but that isn’t so much the case this year. The ‘pen has a collective 3.12 ERA (3.64 FIP) this season, which is good, but is closer to middle of the pack than the league’s best. Closer LHP Zach Britton (1.51 FIP) and setup man RHP Darren O’Day (3.15 FIP) are Showalter’s horses. They’re his moment of truth relievers. RHP Tommy Hunter (3.11 FIP) will also see some high-leverage spots but not as many as in the past. Britton pitched yesterday and got five outs two days before that.

RHP Brad Brach (3.04 FIP), LHP T.J. MacFarland (4.43 FIP), and ex-Yankees RHP Chaz Roe (2.95 FIP) make up the rest of the six-man bullpen, though Wright will be available in relief if necessary tonight. I’m not sure how long the six-man bullpen this will last, but it looks like that’s the plan through the weekend, barring something crazy that forces the O’s to call up an extra arm. Joe Girardi‘s bullpen is as fresh as can be thanks to yesterday’s off-day. Check out our Bullpen Workload page and then check out Camden Chat for everything you need to know about the Orioles.

Yankeemetrics: May 7-10 (Orioles)

Can we just give him the Cy Young today? (AP Photo)
Can we just give him the Cy Young today? (AP Photo)

We’re going to kick things off with Pineda’s spectacular outing on Mother’s Day… because, well, do we really need a reason?!

The Yankees won their 20th game of the season on Sunday afternoon but the story of the game was the incredible performance by Michael Pineda, who struck out 16 batters without allowing a walk in seven innings. It was a historic day for the 26-year-old right-hander at Yankee Stadium:

• He is the first Yankee with at least 16 strikeouts and no walks in a game. The last major-league pitcher to do it was Johan Santana on Aug. 19, 2007.
• At 26 years old, Pineda is the youngest pitcher with a 16-strikeout, no-walk game since a 22-year-old Mark Prior on June 26, 2003.
• He is the only MLB pitcher in at least the last 100 years (and probably ever) to have 16-or-more strikeouts and zero walks in a game when pitching fewer than eight innings.
• Pineda is the second Yankee right-hander to strike out 16 batters in a game, joining David Cone on June 23, 1997 vs. the Tigers.

And just for fun: He struck out 16 in seven innings, the equivalent of 20.6 strikeouts in nine innings. The major-league record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game is 20. If only Pineda had a rubber arm and there were no pitch counts…

He featured a nasty slider all afternoon, which netted him 12 swings-and-misses and eight strikeouts by Orioles batters. Pineda now has 30 strikeouts via his slider this season, the most among all pitchers in the majors.

Pineda is 7-0 in his last nine starts dating back to last September, with at least five strikeouts and no more than one walk in each of those games. Only two other pitchers have put together a streak like that – no losses, five-or-more strikeouts and no walks in a nine-start span – in the last 100 years: Bret Saberhagen in 1994 and Curt Schilling in 2002.

Pineda has three games this season with no walks, at least seven strikeouts and a win. Here’s the list of pitchers to do that within the team’s first 32 games during the last 100 years: Walter Johnson (1916), Greg Maddux (1994) and Fergie Jenkins (1971). Oh, just a few Hall of Famers, and Pineda.

A-Rod ‘says goodbye’ to Willie
With one swing of the bat, Alex Rodriguez once again etched his name in the record books – passing Willie Mays to move into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time home run list – and helped the Yankees to another key win over a division rival. Check out the similarities between career homers No. 660 and 661:

Last week it was a pinch-hit solo homer that broke a 2-2 tie to help the Yankees beat the Red Sox; on Thursday night it was another tie-breaking solo shot to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead against the Orioles, in a game they would eventually win, 4-3.

The (not) milestone home run No. 661 came off Chris Tillman, a pitcher that A-Rod has absolutely owned in his career. He’s now 6-for-12 with four homers vs. Tillman, good for a nice round slugging percentage of 1.500 – his highest against any of the 315 pitchers he has at least 10 at-bats against in his career.

Nate Eovaldi gutted through 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits for the win. He did match a season-high with 14 swinging strikes, six of which came via his curveball – a career-best whiff total for that pitch.

And your official 2015 Yankees closer is …
The Yankees followed a familiar script in beating the Orioles 5-4 on Friday night: a big blast to give the team an early lead, followed by a near-flawless performance from the back end of the bullpen to secure the win.

Brian McCann provided the power, sending a 3-0 pitch from Miguel Gonzalez over the fence that put the Yankees up 3-0 in the first inning. After Friday’s game, the Yankees had swung at four 3-0 pitches this season – and two of them turned into home runs (also A-Rod’s 660th last week). They are the only team this season to hit two homers on 3-0 pitches.

Trying to protect a one-run lead, Andrew Miller came on in the ninth inning to finish off the game and did Andrew Miller things. He pitched a perfect inning for his 13th save of the season, of course. And for the 15th time in 15 games, he didn’t allow any runs or more than one hit. Guess how many Yankee pitchers have ever started a season with a streak like that? Keep guessing…. Yup, none.

The Chase is over
Chase Whitley came crashing back down to Earth in Saturday’s loss to the Orioles, allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings after he entered the game with a shiny 0.75 ERA in his first two starts this season.

It was hardly surprising that he ran into trouble against the O’s. He’s now pitched 11 1/3 innings vs. Baltimore and allowed 14 earned runs, good for a 11.12 ERA that ranks as the second-highest against the Orioles by any active pitcher (min. 10 IP). Only the Padres’ Tyson Ross (17.10) has a worse mark than Whitley.

Jose Pirela was the only Yankee with more than one hit in the game, going 2-for-4 and notching the fifth multi-hit game of his career. He is just the seventh Yankee to debut in the last 100 years and have at least five multi-hit games within his first 10 career major-league appearances. He’s in some pretty good company here: Jerry Coleman (1949), Snuffy Stirnweiss (1943), Phil Rizzuto (1941), Joe DiMaggio (1936), Leo Durocher (1928), Norm McMillan (1922).