Monday, April 30, 2012


The Yankees just navigated through arguably their toughest patch of the schedule so far this season.  Back-to-back-to-back series vs. the Red Sox, Rangers, and the Tigers was not easy but the Yanks managed to go 5-3 in that span.  Now, after beating the Tigers two-out-of-three in the Bronx, the Yanks stay home to host the first place Baltimore Orioles for a three game set.  Here are the pitching matchups…

Hiroki Kuroda vs. Jason Hammel
Kuroda makes his fifth start for the Yankees tonght. He's is 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA.  Kuroda's had two very good starts and two poor starts this year.  Last time out Kuroda got the tough-luck loss against Yu Darvish and the Rangers even though he only allowed 2 runs and pitched into the 7th inning. The main issue with Kuroda this year has been keeping the ball in the park.  Let's hope Kuroda can duplicate his performance from a few nights ago.

The Orioles send Jason Hammel to the mound tonight. Hammel, so far, has been great in his first year for the O’s. In four starts he’s 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA. The Yankees have seen Hammel before when he was with the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays from 2006-2008. The good news is Hammel has a 7.45 ERA in his career vs. the Yanks. 

Phil Hughes vs. Brian Matusz
I don’t know how many chances Phil has had as a starting pitcher over the years, but his leash has to be getting pretty short with David Phelps entering the rotation and Andy Pettitte only days away from returning.  Calling this start important for Hughes is an understatement. So far Phil is 1-3 in four starts with a 7.88 ERA.    Career vs the O's Hughes is 4-2 with a high ERA of 5.24.  A good performance Tuesday night for Hughes could go a long way for his chances at staying in the starting rotation and, would gives us fans a sigh of relief.

The O's counter with Brian Matusz.  Matusz is 2-5 in his career vs the Yanks with a 5.10 ERA.  And so far the the left hander is off to another tough start.  He enters this game with an 0-3 record and a 5.66 ERA.  He also almost averages 6 walks a game.  Good news for the Yankees who we know take tons of pitches.

Ivan Nova vs. Jake Arrieta
Ivan Nova is 3-0 in four starts with a 5.18 ERA.  His ERA really ballooned when he got knocked around by the Rangers the other day.  But, Nova has been solid for us so far this year.  He's given his team a chance in almost all of his outings and that is all you ask from your starting pitcher.  Career against the Orioles Nova is 3-0 in five starts with a 3.34 ERA, and that includes a start in Baltimore on April 9, his first of the season, in which he allowed two runs in 7 innings and picked up the win.

Jake Arrieta goes for the O’s in the final game of this three game set. The right hander is 1-2 this year with a 4.45 ERA.

Look, although the Orioles are tied for first in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays (14-8 record), they’re still a team the Yankees should beat at least two out of three times, considering they swept them last month.  Go Yankees!

--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
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