Following a week where the New York Yankees took three of four against the Detroit Tigers and dropped two of three to the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees have one of their most important series of the summer starting on Monday with the Baltimore Orioles.
Check that, the first place Baltimore Orioles who aren't going away anytime soon and are looking to make it back to the postseason for the second time in three years. Baltimore is at 67-50 and has a six game lead over the Yankees in the American League East, who are 61-56 after their series with the Indians over the weekend. They are one game back of the Toronto Blue Jays, who are 63-56.
If the Yankees want any hope of catching ground on the Orioles, this is the series to start that, because the division is the Yankees best chance of making the playoffs because of a very packed A.L. Wild Card in which the Yankees are 1.5 games in back of.
The lineup the Orioles and manager Buck Showalter should put out there against the Yankees should look something like this:
- Nick Markakis, RF, .292, 10 HR, 40 RBI
- Manny Machado, 3B, .277, 12 HR, 32 RBI
- Adam Jones, CF, .285, 22 HR, 70 RBI
- Nelson Cruz, DH, .260, 30 HR, 80 RBI
- Chris Davis, 1B, .193, 20 HR, 55 RBI
- Delmon Young, LF, .319, 5 HR, 19 RBI
- Corban Joseph, C, .228, 8 HR, 21 RBI
- Ryan Flaherty, SS, .205, 5 HR, 20 RBI
- Jonathan Schoop, 2B, .212, 9 HR, 28 RBI
One player that is conspicuous by his absence is All Star catcher Matt Wieters, who is out for the season after needing to undergo season-ending Tommy John Surgery on his elbow in June.
The lineup that the Orioles will see and Yankees manager Joe Girardi will put out should look something like this:
- Brett Gardner, LF, .279, 15 HR, 50 RBI
- Derek Jeter, SS, .273, 3 HR, 30 RBI
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, .280, 10 HR, 52 RBI
- Mark Teixeira, 1B, .230, 19 HR, 52 RBI
- Carlos Beltran, DH, .245, 14 HR, 45 RBI
- Chase Headley, 3B, .232, 9 HR, 39 RBI
- Stephen Drew, 2B, .174, 4 HR, 18 RBI
- Martin Prado, RF, .270, 5 HR, 42 RBI
- Francisco Cervelli, C, .287, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Just like the Orioles, the player the Yankees are missing from their lineup is Brian McCann, who was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after taking a foul ball straight to the front of the mask on Friday night and placed on the DL Saturday afternoon.
The lineup needs to improve after their series against Cleveland, especially after being held for 19 2/3 innings without a run scored and was nearly 20 innings if not for an Ellsbury home run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday. The Orioles lineup is much better than the Indians lineup and on any given night, will put up a considerable amount of runs, so the Yankees need to hit better in order to compete with them.
With the lineups out of the way, the pitching matchups will be as follows:
Game 1: Monday, August 11: Chris Capuano (1-2, 3.91 ERA) vs Bud Norris (9-7, 3.68 ERA)
The last time Capuano took the ball was this past Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers and went step for step with former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and held the Tigers to one run over seven innings. Since coming to the Yankees, Capuano has a 2.84 ERA and has been better than expected after spending most of the season in the minors before being traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Bronx.
Game 2: Tuesday, August 12: Shane Greene (3-1, 2.89 ERA) vs Wei-Yen Chen
Since getting called back up to the major leagues in July, Greene has earned his rotation spot by giving the Yankees great pitching outings. His last outing was an absolute gem; an eight inning shutout performance against the Tigers on Thursday and the Yankees could use another performance like that in this game. Greene already has a win over Baltimore from back on July 12.
Game 3: Wednesday, August 13: Michael Pineda (2-2, 1.83 ERA) or Esmil Rogers (2-0, 5.16 ERA) vs Chris Tillman (9-5, 3.73 ERA)
Wednesday is supposed to be when Michael Pineda may or may not return to the Yankees and come off the DL, something he's been on since May after initially serving a 10-game suspension for the pine tar incident in April against the Boston Red Sox. If Pineda does not come off the DL to pitch on Wednesday, Rogers will make his second start for the Yankees and look to give them another sharp outing after his last one, which was a victory over the Indians on Friday night.
With this now considered to be the "dog days of summer," the Yankees need try and win every series possible, especially against A.L. East competitors, much less, against the Orioles. With a month and a half to go in the 2014 season, if the Yankees want any chance of getting to October baseball, that run needs to start now. Since the All Star break, the Yankees are 14-9 and have been one of the better teams in baseball. They need to continue that trend when they land into Camden Yards for an extremely important series starting on Monday night.
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