The New York Yankees conclude their four-game home series with the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday afternoon. The Yankees have had an up-and-down season in 2020, falling out of second place behind the Toronto Blue Jays. New York won the first two games of their series against the Orioles on Friday night, sweeping a doubleheader in dominating fashion, winning by scores of 6-0 and 10-1. This preview was written before the conclusion of Saturday’s game.
The Yankees pitchers gave up a total of just six hits in the doubleheader sweep, with Gerrit Cole pitching a two-hit, complete-game shutout in game one, striking out nine batters along the way. Luke Voit had two home runs and six RBI in game two for the Yankees to lead them to the sweep. DJ Stewart homered in game two for Baltimore’s only run of the twinbill.
Orioles lose third straightThe Baltimore Orioles lost their second and third consecutive games against teams from New York on Friday after they lost to the New York Mets on Thursday. Sunday’s game will be the 12th consecutive game that the Orioles have played against the Mets and Yankees, going 5-5 in the first 10 games through Friday. The Orioles entered Saturday’s game 3.5 games behind the Yankees for the eighth and final playoff spot in the American League.
“We’re playing games that matter late in the year,” Manager Brandon Hyde said on nytimes.com. “That’s how you improve; that’s how you build character as a team. That’s what you play for all year, is to play til the end of the season in games that mean a lot.”
Pedro Severino leads the way for the Orioles with a .314 batting average, while Hanser Alberto is hitting .309. The Orioles have two players who have hit double digits in home runs, although Anthony Santander, who has hit 11 bombs is out for the season with an oblique injury. Renato Nunez has hit 10 home runs for Baltimore. The Orioles have hit 61 homers, while hitting .262 as a team, which is eighth-best in the majors.
John Means is on the mound for Baltimore in Sunday’s series finale. He has made seven starts this season, going 1-3 with a 6.58 ERA. He is coming off his best start of the season. Means gave up just one run on three hits in six innings on Tuesday against the New York Mets. This will be Means’ seventh appearance and fourth start versus the Yankees in his career. He has a 1-2 record versus the Yankees with a 9.39 ERA. He has been even worse in his three starts versus New York, posting a 13.97 ERA.
Yankees getting second wind in race for the playoffsThe New York Yankees, once upon a time, were thought to be a lock for the 2020 playoffs. After all, they won 16 of their first 22 games to begin the season. They then proceeded to lose 15 of their next 20 games to fall back to the .500 mark, and their playoff chances seemed to be dwindling. However, a three-game winning streak, one over Toronto on Wednesday and two over Baltimore on Friday, has revitalized this proud franchise as they try to hold on for dear life to the postseason. The Yankees had their 19-game winning streak against the Orioles snapped on September 4 in the second game of a doubleheader. New York has won 21 of their last 24 against Baltimore heading into Saturday’s game.
DJ LeMahieu has raised his batting average to .359, which is third-best in baseball, while Luke Voit is tied for the Major League lead in homers with 16. He also tops the Yankees with 36 RBI, which is tied for eighth in the majors. As a team, New York is hitting just .239, but they have hit 68 home runs. Injured sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are close to rejoining the team for the stretch run.
“I would say they're both close," manager Aaron Boone said on espn.com.. "They're both feeling well. They're both doing well. Hopefully, we're in the final days before they start getting some at-bats."
J.A. Happ gets the ball on Sunday as he tries to lead the Yankees to yet another win over Baltimore. He has made six starts this season, going 1-2 with a 4.31 ERA. He is coming off his longest outing of the season, in which he gave up just two runs in 6.1 innings versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The grisly veteran has faced the Orioles 24 times in his career, going 9-6 with a 3.66 ERA.