It’s time for the Bronx Bombers to live up to their name. The team faces their biggest threat as they begin their three game series against the number one team in both the AL East and Central division, the Baltimore Orioles.
Four years ago I would have never guessed the Orioles would be a potential threat to the New York Yankees. The O’s would end up last in the AL East up until 2012 while the Yankees have led the division since coming off of their World Series win in 2009. New York is 3-6 against Baltimore so far and will go head to head with them another seven times before this season is over.
With basically a new team, the Yankees need to pull together to win this series. My hope is that they dominate at least two of the three games. That being said, Manager Joe Girardi is wasting no time putting to work one of his newest players, Chris Capuano.
The Yankees acquired Capuano from the Rockies in July and since then he has done nothing but help the ballclub. Last week he out-pitched Tigers’ Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, going 6 2/3 innings with five hits and eight strikeouts. The southpaw has a 3.91 ERA and will start the series off against Baltimore’s Bud Norris (3.68 ERA) who just earned a W against the Blue Jays.
Comparing lineups I would say that I’m least worried about pitching and more nervous about hitting. There’s no doubt that the pitcher directs where the game will go, but when it comes to this series in particular it’s all about the bats.
One of the best hitters in baseball right now resides in Baltimore and he’s starting off the game against Capuano. Nick Markakis, who just welcomed his 1,500th hit on Sunday is, in my opinion, the biggest danger to the Yanks. He’s first in the lineup and is batting .292 with 40 RBIs and has slugged 10 homers this year. He’s not the only one to fear, both Manny Machado (.277) and center fielder Adam Jones follow Markakis in the lineup.
Even though I sound fearful, I’m actually very hopeful and pretty confident in how the series will turn out. I without-a-doubt have faith that the Yankees will turn around and defeat the Orioles. I’m excited to see Mark Teixeira, who made an appearance in Sunday’s game going 1 for 4 against the Indians, back in the lineup after his injury last week. Obviously having Captain Derek Jeter batting second is a no brainer, he just got the 3,431st hit of his career on Saturday, passing Honus Wagner for 6th place on the all-time hits list. Not only that, but we’ll see Carlos Beltran as a DH and newcomer Chase Headley who has made great strides for the team already.
This series is definitely an important one and in a way determines how the Yankees will play the rest of the season. The Orioles will face the Indians (59-59) and the Chicago White Sox (56-63) after that, two teams that are struggling a little bit this season and should be a pretty easy win. Girardi said it himself on Sunday, “We have to win a series, and maybe do more than that. We have to play extremely well, because they’re playing well.”