The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees will begin their final series of the regular season tonight at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
With one glance at the current standings, the importance of the series is quite obvious.
The Orioles (76-66) and Yankees (76-67) are separated by half a game in the standings. Both teams are battling for the second American League Wild Card spot, the O’s are two games out while the Yankees trail by 2.5 games.
The Birds lead the Bronx Bombers in the season series with a 9-6 record — they are 5-1 against the Yanks in Baltimore.
Monday night’s game will be a battle of southpaws as the Orioles will send Chris Tillman (15-5, 3.71 ERA) to oppose C.C. Sabathia (13-11, 4.86 ERA). The O’s last faced Sabathia on Aug. 30. Despite allowing five runs on seven hits through 5.2 innings, Sabathia still earned the win. In 2013, Oriole batters are hitting .304 off Sabathia with three home runs.
On Tuesday, Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 3.98 ERA) will matchup against Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.02 ERA). Gonzalez rebounded from a poor start in Yankee Stadium on Thursday when he allowed four hits through seven innings against the Chicago White Sox. In his last start against the Yankees, Gonzalez lasted just four innings surrendering seven runs on six hits.
In the third game of the series on Sept. 11, Scott Feldman (12-10, 3.54 ERA) will take the mound and duel against 18-year veteran Andy Pettitte (10-9, 4.03 ERA). Feldman has pitched really well in his last three starts, going 2-1 with 14 strikeouts and a 0.86 ERA. He threw a complete game shutout against the White Sox on Friday.
The final game of the series will feature Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.82 ERA) for the O’s and David Huff (2-1, 5.12 ERA) for the Yankees. Huff made his only appearance against the Orioles in relief on Sept. 1; he retired both batters he faced. Chen allowed two runs on six hits in six innings on Saturday.