The Yankees stay at home for a quick two game set vs the O’s. It is very important that they can take these 2 games from the Orioles to build some momentum going into a very crucial 4 game series in Fenway over the weekend. The Yankees just took 3 of 4 from the Royals, as they continue to chase Boston for the division lead. The Yankees are 5.5 games behind Boston, who’s having a historic season.
GAME ONE: Tuesday July 31st @7PM
Masahiro Tanaka (8-2, 4.02 ERA) vs Yefry Ramirez (1-3, 3.49 ERA)
Tanaka takes the mound in the first game, coming off of an absolutely masterful start against Tampa last week. He threw a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts. That’s the Tanaka we need. We know we won’t get a shutout every time out, but any day where the bullpen gets a day off is beneficial to the team. He will face Ramirez, who earned his first career win last time out against Boston.
GAME TWO: Wednesday August 1st @1PM
Sonny Gray (8-7, 5.08 ERA) vs Alex Cobb (2-14, 6.08 ERA)
Sonny comes back to the mound after a small injury scare last time out. He got hit on the thumb by a line drive, but has been cleared to play. He is turning things around as of late, with wins in 3 straight starts. He can continue to build confidence against a weak and depleted Orioles team, and he is facing a pitcher having a horrific season. Cobb just doesn’t have it this year, with only 2 wins on the season and getting shelled more times than not.
The Yankees have been known to play down to their opponents this year. As July ends, it’s more important than ever to win these games vs the bottom of the division. If they don’t take both games vs Baltimore, both fans and players should be frustrated. That being said, it’s hard to not overlook this series for epic 4 games in Boston coming up. Everyone is excited for that, but it’s important to have the most momentum possible going in.