Having finally put a halt to a six-game losing streak, the Baltimore Orioles face what could be a make-or-break series when they visit the wild card-leading New York Yankees on Thursday in the opener of a four-game set. The series will wrap up a 10-game road trip for Baltimore, which has scored a total of 12 runs over its past seven contests.
The stakes are high for both teams as the Yankees trail first-place Boston by three games in the American League East while the Orioles are 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second wild card. New York, which has won four series in a row, took two of three in in Baltimore last week and steamrolled the Orioles in a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium in June, outscoring them 38-8. Aaron Judge was 7-for-12 with three homers and six RBIs while Gary Sanchez went 6-for-13 with two homers and seven RBIs for the Yankees in that June onslaught. Baltimore, which has played four straight one-run games, sends left-hander Wade Miley to the mound to oppose right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Baltimore), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles LH Wade Miley (8-12, 4.96 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (11-11, 4.82)
Miley lost his second straight start last time out against white-hot Cleveland, giving up four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings after yielding just two runs over six frames versus Toronto in his previous turn. He has established a career high with 84 walks, including seven in five scoreless innings versus the Yankees in his season debut. Starlin Castro is only 3-for-24 against Miley.
Tanaka’s three-start winning streak ended with a thud last week in Texas, when he was throttled for seven runs on eight hits over four-plus innings. The 28-year-old from Japan pitched seven innings in each of his previous three turns, surrendering a total of five runs. Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop are each 4-for-20 against Tanaka, who is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in two starts versus the Orioles this season.
1. The Yankees are averaging 10 runs in their last six games against Baltimore.
2. Machado is batting .191 against the Yankees this season but has four homers and 10 RBIs in the 47 at-bats.
3. Yankees 1B Greg Bird (back spasms) is expecting back in the lineup as early as Thursday after missing the past three games.
PREDICTION: Yankees 6, Orioles 3