After splitting a wild series versus Toronto over the weekend to stay hot on Minnesota’s heels for the final playoff spot in the American League, the Orioles will look to make a great home stand even better against the New York Yankees in the final three-game set at home before embarking on a ten-game road trip.
From double-sweeping the Red Sox and the Mariners to walking it off twice against the Blue Jays, this red-hot Orioles squad is simply buzzing at the moment and they now face a prime chance to make some noise in the wild card race against the Yankees.
The third-place Orioles (70-67) have won ten of their last thirteen contests, and thanks to their recent winning surge, they now trail the Twins by just a game and a half for the final wildcard spot in the American League. The Orioles have been propelled by a stellar 43-28 record at home this season, and an 18-9 mark over their last 27 games at home has served as a launching point for their challenge on the wild card holders.
It just so has it that the Orioles seemed to snap into form after getting embarrassed by the Chicago Cubs at home in the first series of the second half. Since that ill-fated three-game series, the Orioles have notched an excellent 28-18 record.
Wake-up calls are always fun – but the heart of this team has been on full display in the second half. Give credit to them for grinding it out and getting to the spot that they’re in now. From here on out, it’s game on.
The second-place Yankees (73-63) are fresh off winning three of four versus the Red Sox in the Bronx over the weekend, and now trail the division leaders by just 3.5-games. Currently the AL’s “home” wild card, they also own a 1.5-game lead over the Twins for the first wild card spot and a 3.5-game lead over their closest contending challengers (Orioles & Angels). Barring a collapse over their last 26 games, the Yankees should be bound for October baseball.
The Yankees also own a 7-5 advantage over the Orioles in the season series to date, and as a result, these two rivals have now gone an even 25-25 against each other since the start of the 2015 season.
Who will re-gain the upper hand? We’re about to find out.
All I know is that it’s going to be an intense three-game clash. September baseball at its finest.
Let’s go to the starters.
Bundy threw a one-hit gem over nine innings during his first career complete-game shutout against the Mariners during his last start, and is lighting the world on fire as of late. Over his last five starts, Bundy has gone a clean 4-0 with an amazing 2.00 ERA and has racked up 45 strikeouts over 36 innings during that span. He’s also still undefeated during the second half of the season with a perfect 5-0 record and a 3.04 ERA over seven starts.
Montgomery allowed four runs on six hits over just four innings during his last start versus the Indians, and may be hitting the “rookie wall” for the Bombers as we enter the month of September. After going 6-4 with a rock-solid 3.65 ERA over sixteen starts in the first half, the southpaw has gone just 1-3 with a 5.35 ERA over eight starts in the second half. He hasn’t won a game since July 25th versus Cincinnati.
Hellickson was tagged to the tune of allowing seven runs on seven hits over just 4 2/3 innings during his last start against Toronto, and will be looking to bounce back against a familiar foe. Over seven career starts versus New York, Hellickson has gone 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA. In six starts since joining the Orioles, Hellickson owns a 2-3 record and a 6.55 ERA.
Sabathia turned in a great outing after holding the Red Sox to just a single run on four hits over six innings en route to his eleventh win of the season his last time out, and has been pretty solid for the Yankees as of late. Over eight starts in the second half of the season, the former Cy Young award winner has gone 4-2 with a 3.53 ERA. Sabathia will also be looking for win number twenty against the Orioles on Tuesday, as he owns a 19-10 record and a 3.47 ERA over forty career starts against the Orioles.
Gausman allowed just four hits over six shutout innings during his last start versus Toronto, and has been simply outstanding for the Orioles for quite some time now. Over his last nine contests, Gausman has gone 5-2 with a sparkling 2.03 ERA. Over his last thirteen outings, Gausman boasts an impressive 7-2 record and a 3.04 ERA. To make it even better, the Orioles fireballer has routinely silenced the Yankees in the past and owns a 7-4 record and a 3.18 ERA against them over fifteen career starts.
Gray pitched well again during his last start against Boston and allowed four runs on five hits over seven innings, but ended up in the loss column. Gray has been excellent for the Yankees since being acquired at the deadline and boasts a 3.16 ERA over six starts in pinstripes despite going just 2-4. He’s allowed two earned runs or less in five of six starts since the move to the Bronx. However, Gray is just 1-3 with a 5.57 ERA over four career starts against the Orioles.
That’s it for now, Orioles fans!
Here’s to more notches in the win column!