After taking one step closer to punching their ticket to the playoffs in Toronto, the Orioles will be looking to seal the deal over the next three games in New York City as they prepare to take on the Yankees in the season finale.
After taking two in a row in Toronto to snatch the series from the Blue Jays, the Orioles (87-72) are now tied with the Jays for second place in the division and the first wild card spot in the AL. Both teams will be playing for the massive incentive of hosting the one–off wild card showdown, so the stakes remain high going into the bright lights of New York City.
The Yankees (83-76) may not be playing October baseball this season, but after posting a solid 14-13 record thus far in September and an impressive 31-24 mark since the beginning of August, these Yankees are no pushover. In fact, they just halted a blistering-hot Red Sox squad that came in on an 11-game winning streak to the tune of a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees have also made the 21st century Yankee Stadium a fortress this season, going 47-31 at home and 12-4 in their last 16 games.
Heading into the final Orioles-Yankees showdown of the season, the season series is deadlocked at 8-8. However, the Yankees own a 5-2 advantage over the O’s at home.
Let’s take a look at the starters:
Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.63 ERA) will take the mound in the series opener against Michael Pineda (6-11, 4.68 ERA).
Gallardo will be hoping to repeat his performance against Arizona in which he allowed just two runs on six hits over six innings with two walks and five K’s in the Orioles’ eventual extra-inning 3-2 victory on September 23rd. In three starts this month, Gallardo owns a 1-1 record along with a 5.65 ERA.
Gallardo will also be looking to end his season on a high note despite owning a 1-3 record and a 7.62 ERA over five career starts versus New York.
Pineda has been absolutely sensational over his last three starts, but has a 0-0 record to show for it alongside a microscopic 0.50 ERA on top of 23 K’s over 15 innings. In five starts this month, the 27-year-old flamethrower has recorded a stellar 1.90 ERA, but owns a blank 0-0 during that span.
In 11 career starts versus Baltimore, the former All-Star has gone 4-2 with a solid 3.73 ERA.
Wade Miley (9-13, 5.40 ERA) will get the nod in the middle game of the series against Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka (14-4, 3.07 ERA) on Saturday.
Like Gallardo, Miley will be looking to recreate his majestic start versus Arizona in which he allowed just a single run on seven hits over 8 2/3 innings while walking zero and striking out 11 in a 6-1 win on September 24th. Despite registering a 6.38 ERA over his first 11 starts as an Oriole, Miley has shown signs of improvement as he owns a 1-2 record and a 5.21 ERA for the month of September.
In six career starts versus the Yankees, Miley has gone 0-3 with a 5.77 ERA.
Tanaka’s sparkling second half of the season has been a driving force in the revival of the Yankees, and the 27-year-old may be the most important piece of the set-up in New York (excluding Gary Sanchez). In 13 starts since the All-Star break, the Yankees star has registered a sparkling 8-2 record along with a stellar 2.83 ERA. In four starts this month, Tanaka has been untouchable, going a perfect 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA.
Tanaka has also fared well versus the Orioles, going 1-1 with a 2.39 ERA over five career starts while stifling Orioles sluggers to a .209 batting average.
Kevin Gausman (8-12, 3.66 ERA) will take the hill in the season finale on Sunday versus Yankees rookie Luis Cessa (4-3, 4.18 ERA).
Gausman has been outstanding down the stretch for the Orioles, going 7-6 along with a 3.15 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 14 starts post All-Star Break. It’s also no secret that the Orioles in-form flamethrower owns the Yankees.
In five starts against New York this season, the 25-year-old has gone 2-1 with a microscopic 0.80 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. In 16 games (10 starts) during his career versus the Bronx Bombers, the LSU alum boasts a 3-3 record and a spectacular 1.87 ERA.
Cessa, 24, has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees in the second half of the season, going 2-3 with a solid 3.72 ERA over eight starts since joining the rotation. The Mexico native will be making his second career start versus Baltimore after allowing three runs on five hits over six innings in a 14-4 win against the Birds on August 26th.
While Mark Trumbo (.252, 46 HR, 106 RBI), Manny Machado (.296, 36 HR, 95 RBI), Adam Jones (.269, 28 HR, 82 RBI), and Matt Wieters (.243, 15 HR, 62 RBI) look to fire the Orioles to a playoff-clinching series victory in New York City, star rookie Gary Sanchez (.303, 20 HR, 42 RBI), Starlin Castro (.272, 21 HR, 70 RBI), Didi Gregorius (.275, 20 HR, 69 RBI) and Mark Teixeira (.205, 15 HR, 43 RBI) will be looking to play the role of spoiler and ruin the Orioles’ season at the finish line.
It should be intense, and as always, it will be a ton of fun to watch!
159 games down, three left to go. The possession arrow remains pointed the Orioles direction.
The ball is in our court. It’s time to finish to job.