Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Orioles Vs. Yankees Preview

Live from New York, it's.....TUESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL!!!

Well, it isn't SNL. Rather, it's the Baltimore Orioles facing the New York Yankees in an early season clash for first place in the AL East. Buck Showalter facing his old team and bringing in his new new troops.

The first-place Orioles (6-3) will most certainly use this early season series to measure where they are against the Bronx Bombers. If they win two out of three, will you consider them to be legit?

What if they take one from the Yanks?

Does a sweep mean they are the class of the division?

In a word: no.

However, it would show how far the franchise has come under Andy MacPhail in four years, and how far they can go with Showalter driving the bus.

Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38 ERA) takes the hill tonight against AJ Burnett (4-0, 4.09 ERA). Burnett had a horrific 2010, and it was statistically the worst season by a Yankees starter ever. Tillman is just a few days shy of his 23rd birthday and is still trying to figure things out at the major league level. He has had a rocky road so far in his career, but there are signs he is beginning to get more comfortable. He mixes his fastball with a change and a 12-6 curve ball. His main issues have to do with command of the strike zone and fastball location. If he can get that sorted out he can be a solid middle of the rotation pitcher.

The Yankees come in having lost two of three against the Red Sox in Boston over the weekend. Their pitching has been so-so this season, but they can certainly still rake. If the Orioles can hold down Robinson Cano, whom I consider to be one of the best hitters in the game, they have a legit shot to win two of three.

Derek Jeter, one of my all-time favorites, just isn't what he once was. People can talk about intangibles all they want; but it comes down to performance. Jeter is not the same as he once was. Nobody fears his every at-bat the way they did even two seasons ago.

This is a terrific measuring test for the Orioles this early in the season. If they can win the series and gain more momentum heading into Cleveland this weekend it can only help with their already soaring confidence levels. They were shutdown in the final two games against the Rangers at the plate, but they shouldn't have too much of a problem hitting at Yankee Stadium this week against the Yankee pitchers. They lucked out in not having to face Sabathia, too.

The quicker the O's can get back Brian Matusz and Justin Duchsherer the better, too.

Check back tomorrow for a game recap and a post on Zach Britton.

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