Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees: A Rivalry Renewed
By Brian Barr
On Tuesday the Baltimore Orioles will begin a series in New York against the Yankees. Both teams come into the series hot with the Yankees having won six of their last seven games, and the Orioles coming off a sweep of the division rival Toronto Blue Jays. The Birds will be looking to revenge an early season series loss when they head to the Bronx.
Baltimore Orioles series preview vs the New York Yankees
The Orioles have played well against divisional opponents this season and have won their last three series' against AL East teams. Overall, the O's are 9-6 against the best division in baseball, that as of May 22, has all five teams ranked in MLB.com's top 10 teams in baseball. The Orioles are a team of rising stars and have a number of players looking to make the jump to superstars. Let's look at how they match up with the Yankees.
Just like the Orioles, the Yankees are also heading into the series coming off of a sweep. The Yanks took all three games in Cincinnati after taking three of four games in Toronto on a very successful road trip. The Yankees have had terrible luck with injuries this year that started before the regular season, but they are starting to get healthy.
Luis Severino just made his first start of the season and Harrison Bader's return has brought a steady presence to a center field position that saw Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who had never played outfield in professional baseball, outplay Aaron Hicks, who was recently designated for assignment. Bader has not only been displaying his gold glove caliber defense in center, but he has been a consistent contributor to the Yankees offense, having scored 10 runs and driven in 15 RBI's in 19 games this season.
At the center of New York's hot streak has been their captain, Aaron Judge, who is partying like it's 2022. The reigning Player of the Week is 11-22 with five home runs, 11 RBI's, scored seven runs, has one stolen a base and an eye popping 1.893 OPS in his last six games. Additionally, the Yankees 22 year old phenom, Anthony Volpe, has started to come into his own and has good production, albeit with a low batting average. The Yankees are a dangerous combination of young talent and veterans that will make for a challenging series.
If anyone is up for that challenge it's the Orioles. It seems like every day there's another player coming up big for the Birds. Stars like Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman have made huge impacts, but players like Ryan O'Hearn, Terrin Vavra and Adam Frazier have made plays in big situations. The starting pitching has solidified itself and the bullpen appears to have returned to its lock down form. The O's also welcomed Mychal Givens back to that bullpen for Sunday's series win over Toronto, who should only make it even stronger.
Here are the projected matchups for this series:
Game 1: Kyle Bradish v Gerrit Cole
Kyle Bradish has been stellar in his last two outings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Angles. Both games were quality starts that saw Bradish give up 0 runs and have six strikeouts in six innings against the Pirates, followed by allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts in 6.2 innings against the Angels. The one run was a solo home run to Mike Trout, which can be forgiven. Those two appearances lowered Bradish's ERA to 3.90 for the season.
Gerrit Cole starting this season on a mission to win the Cy Young award, winning his first four starts and five out of his first six. Since then Cole has stumbled a bit and is without a win in four starts in the month of May. Cole uncharacteristically hasn't pitched more than 6.0 innings in those four starts and has yielded multiple runs in three of them. He may not be at his best right now, but Cole is still one of the best starters in the game.
Game 2: Tyler Wells v Nestor Cortes
What is there left to say about Tyler Wells? Wells is 3-1 on the season and seems to have put everything together. Wells' advanced stats show that he has had tremendous command of his pitches. Wells is averaging 7.96 K/9 (6.60 in 2022), 1.73 BB/9 (2.43 in 2022), 5.37 H/9 (7.81 in 2022) and 4.60 K/BB (2.71 in 2022). This improved command has led to a .163 BABIP for opposing hitters this season. Not bad for a Rule 5 draft pick.
Nasty Nestor hasn't been quite as nasty in 2023. Cortes enters the game with a 4-2 record and a 5.21 ERA. Cortes is still getting plenty of strikeouts, 48 K's in 48.1 innings, but the overall command hasn't been there. Cortes has allowed multiple earned runs in eight of his nine starts this season, with the exception being the first game he pitched on April 3. He will have a tough matchup against an Orioles lineup that has not had trouble scoring runs this season.
Game 3: Kyle Gibson v Clarke Schmidt
Kyle Gibson is coming off of arguably his best start of the season. With the Orioles bullpen needing a rest, Gibson gave the Birds 7.0 innings against a very talented Blue Jays lineup, allowing only one run. After the first two games in New York, Gibson may again be asked to eat up as many innings as he can. He is 5-3 on the season but has had good run support. Gibson has yet to make it through a start this season without allowing at least one earned run in each of his 10 starts. Yankee stadium is hitter friendly but Gibson is a veteran and will find a way to continue to do what is asked of him.
Clarke Schmidt became just the latest Yankees starter to get stuck in the "sticky stuff" controversy of baseball today. In what has become a common theme in New York, Schmidt was told to wash his hands after umpires checked them before Schmidt came out to pitch the fifth inning last Friday. It should be noted that Schmidt still did not allow a run in that fifth inning.
Schmidt earned the win in that game bringing his record to 2-4 on the season with a 6.00 ERA. With Severino now back from injury and Domingo German able to return following his 10 game suspension, it makes sense that the struggling Schmidt would be looking for any advantage to keep himself in the rotation.
The Orioles enter the series with the second best record in baseball at 31-16, but the Yankees are only three games behind them at 29-20. This years American League East has the potential to be historically good and get four teams into the playoffs. This series should be very exciting in a division where every matchup could have serious implications at the end of the season.