After just three games apart, the Yankees meet back up with Orioles, this time in the Bronx. Fresh off a sweep of the Red Sox, it appears that the Birds have begun to find their stride. By record they are still the worst team in baseball, but they should be more formidable than that on the field over the next three games.
The Yankees rotation turns over this evening as CC Sabathia takes the mound for his sixth start. On the year, he's 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA (3.35 FIP). He's been walking slightly more batters than usual but giving up just 6.5 hits per nine innings, down from his career mark of 8.2/9.
The Big Fella had a decent but not dominant outing against Baltimore five days ago, distributing 13 baserunners over 7 2/3 innings such that only three of them came across the plate. The outing before that - the complete game loss in Oakland - CC also gave the Yankees length despite not having his best stuff. One of the great things about having a pitcher like Sabathia is that even when he has a tough outing, there's a chance that he's efficient enough with his pitches that he can still stay in the game. And of course, on the nights when he has his good stuff, he's damn near unstoppable.
Sabathia is facing Jeremy Guthrie for the fifth time in the year and a month since he's become a Yankee, which is especially surprising since he's only matched up with the O's seven times. Like Sabathia, Guthrie came up with the Indians. They were both late first round picks (CC was 20th & Guthrie 22nd) selected four years apart ('98 & '02) but it's actually Guthrie who is over a year older since he went to college, transferring from BYU to Stanford.
Since we was an established college pitcher, the Indians never placed Guthrie below AA. In three years in their farm system, he amassed a 4.40 ERA and had little success in three cups of coffee in the majors. As a result, the Tribe placed Guthrie on waivers and he was picked up by the Orioles in January of '07.
Something apparently clicked for Guthrie shortly thereafter because the O's installed him directly into their starting rotation and he threw 175 innings at a 3.70 ERA that year. In '08, he was slightly better, tossing 15 more innings with an ERA of 3.63. However, his FIP's those two years were around 4.50 and last season his ERA ballooned up to 5.04.
When last seen, Guthrie was tagged for 7 runs (6 of them earned) by the Yankees down in Baltimore. That same night, he hit Jorge Posada on the back of the knee and took him out of the game. Similar to when he plunked Mark Teixeira in the elbow during Spring Training, it was just a contusion but it kept Jorge out of the starting line up for two days in a row. No one believes that Guthrie is trying to hit these guys, much less trying to injure them, but Joe Girardi is clearly frustrated by the trend and if another Yankee gets hit tonight, there might be some ugliness. Let's hope Guthrie keeps it peaceful and the Yanks do the same.
People gon' be people, ain't nobody gon' change,-Lineups-
But we can keep it peaceful if we leave it the same,
If you don't go there, no, don't go there,
Don't go there, no, don't go there.
[Matt:] Alex Rodriguez and his possibly sore knee return to the lineup after a one day absence. Randy Winn gets the nod in left field after Marcus Thames got the first post-Granderson start. I figure both will have an opportunity to play unless one establishes himself as the clear cut better option. With a righty on the mound for the O's tonight there's no sense in tempting fate with Thames' defense for a second consecutive game. No word yet on whether a reliever has been optioned out to bring up Greg Golson as has been rumored. And not that it has anything to do with the lineups, but Robinson Cano is the AL Player of the Month, Jeter and Teixeira will be awarded their Gold Gloves before the game, and Javier Vazquez officially will be skipped Friday night.
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 2B
Miguel Tejada 3B
Matt Wieters C
Garrett Atkins 1B
Nolan Reimold DH
Lou Montanez LF
Cesar Izturis SS