New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles
Dates: Monday, September 4, 2017 – Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
The Bronx Bombers had a very solid showing against the Red Sox after being swept at home against the Indians. That leaves New York in much the same position it was a week ago: slipping in the Wild Card hunt, but still the heavy favorite for the first Wild Card spot. After a sizeable home stand, however, the Yankees now hit the road where they’re three games under-.500. At least they take on a Baltimore team that they crushed back in early June when the O’s rotation was at its worst. They swept that three-game series, outscoring the Orioles 38-8.
The Orioles split a four-game series against the last place Blue Jays over the weekend, but are still 9-2 in their last 11-games following back-to-back sweeps of the Red Sox and Mariners. The biggest struggle for the Birds remains the rotation. Recently, Kevin Gausman has started throwing the ball better and Dylan Bundy has taken his game to the next level. Can those two continue their recent pace and is that enough? That’s the question. For now, though, if those two are starting, this is a solid team. The bullpen is stacked with Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and so many others. The offense is strong, too. They’re not a particularly strong on-base team, but they have power and tons of it. There are eight different players with at least 18 homers this season. They can hit the ball out from anywhere in the lineup.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Monday, September 4, 2017, 2:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Jordan Montgomery ( Yankees ) vs. Dylan Bundy ( Orioles )
Jordan Montgomery has been worth over two wins per rWAR and has been one of the team’s more consistent arms since April. He’s 7-7 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.254 WHIP. While he’s been reliable all year, he has shown signs of fatigue recently. That’s not surprising for a rookie who, between his 130 big league innings and his two starts in the minors, has matched his innings total from last season. Montgomery’s latest starts have been spaced out, but that hasn’t been enough. He’s allowed seven runs in nine innings combined over his last two starts. The Yankees are also winless in his last three games and 2-8 in his last 10 starts.
Based on the innings, Dylan Bundy should also be tiring. It looked like he was in July, but he just put up a stellar month of August. In the month, he starting blowing away hitters, striking out 45 in 36 innings. He’s 4-0 in the month with a 2.00 ERA and 0.806 WHIP. He’s walked just six and has just 12 walks in his last nine starts as his command has improved. While the overall August numbers are stellar, Bundy is coming off the best start of his career, going the distance against the Mariners and allowing one hit and two walks in a shutout.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
CC Sabathia ( Yankees ) vs. Jeremy Hellickson ( Orioles )
C.C. Sabathia is not the dominant ace the Yankees acquired in 2009, but he’s still a useful mid-rotation arm. The veteran southpaw has reinvented himself several times and is currently not one to rack up the strikeouts or limit the walks. He’s got a 2.13 strikeout to walk ratio. Despite that, he’s 11-5 with a 3.71 ERA. He’s 19-10 with a 3.47 ERA in his career against the O’s. Even with that solid career line against Baltimore, there are some Orioles looking forward to facing him again including Manny Machado and Adam Jones. Machado’s 17-for-48 against him with a pair of homers and six doubles. Jones is 23-for-76 with five homers and 15 RBIs.
The Orioles recognized that they needed pitching help mid-season and in came Jeremy Hellickson. Unfortunately, GM Dan Duquette and the Orioles opted for a low-strikeout pitcher with a mid-4 ERA and a 5.49 FIP. Since coming to Baltimore, Hellickson is 2-3 with a 6.55 ERA. His ERA is much higher than it was in Philadelphia, but his FIP is nearly the same. The overall numbers are terrible, but broken down start-by-start, Hellickson has three strong starts for the O’s and three truly terrible ones. In his three strong outings—all quality starts—he was able to limit the walks and locate his strikes early, in the clunkers, he was missing his spots in and out of the zone from the first pitch. We should be able to see early on if this is good Hellickson or bad Hellickson.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Sonny Gray ( Yankees ) vs. Kevin Gausman ( Orioles )
The jewel of the non-waiver trade deadline, Sonny Gray has pitched as expected since the Yankees acquired him. He’s started six games and has a 3.16 ERA and 1.135 WHIP in 37 innings. Those number are strong, but he’s suffered from weak, little offensive support and a shaky bullpen. The Yankees are only 2-4 when he takes the ball. He’s coming off a four-run, seven-inning start against Boston—yet another loss for the Bronx Bombers.
Kevin Gausman’s splits are nearly identical. His overall starts are similar against lefties and righties, and he’s posting comparable ERAs at home and away. Where Gausman’s splits stand out are between the first half and the second half. It’s been a tale of two seasons for the right-hander with the most relevant one being the most recent. Since the All-Star break, Gausman is 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA. His strikeout rate has jumped to 9.6 per nine innings. The right-hander has not allowed a run in his last two starts, spanning a period of 13.2 innings.