Talking Behind Their Back: Royals
The Orioles settled for a predictable split of a four-game weekend series in Kansas City.
I say predictable because, unlike most things in sports, this series followed a logical script.
Gil Meche started Game 1 for the Royals. He had allowed four earned runs or more in three of his previous six starts and the Orioles upped that trend to four of his last seven. Jeremy Guthrie wasn't great in the game but was good enough to outpitch the scuffling Meche, which led to Baltimore winning, 9-5.
Zack Greinke is better than just about any other pitcher in the majors and significantly better than Adam Eaton, so Game 2 should've been a Royals win. And it was, as Kansas City showed no ill effects from a two and a half hour rain delay by pummeling Baltimore, 8-1.
Kyle Davies has an ERA over five for Kansas City so Game 3 should have been a Baltimore win. Add in the fact that Rich Hill looked more like the guy the Cubs once saw as their starter of the future in his Orioles debut and you've got a 3-2 win for the O's.
Game 4 was played on Sunday and Koji Uehara was on the mound, two things that meant the Orioles likely weren't going to win. Despite a bumbling effort (four errors, starter Luke Hochevar's ERA is still hovering near 17) by a Royals team that refused to win, Kansas City wrapped up the series with a 7-4 victory thanks to a three-run eighth inning.
See, sometimes it's easy to figure out baseball.
Unfortunately for the Orioles they now must attempt to figure out a surging Yankees team that left the Minnesota Twins muttering under their collective breath. New York won each of the series' first three games via a walk-off hit. Melky Cabrera hit a single to score two Friday. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning Saturday. Johnny Damon hit a solo shot in the 10th on Sunday. And on Monday, the Yankees rested late, but still won, by holding off a less dramatic charge by the Twins.
So the Yankees are hot (having won six straight), believe they can win (did you read that last paragraph?) and Mark Teixeira's bat is starting to warm up (.450 average, three home runs, 11 RBI during the team's winning streak). This does not bode well for the Orioles as they head to the Bronx for a three-game set.
However, I think the Orioles will avoid the sweep and go 1-2 at Yankees Stadium. I think the matchup of Jeremy Guthrie against Phil Hughes in Game 2 works in Baltimore's favor since the Orioles plundered the young Yankees starter for eight runs in less than two innings 10 days ago.
Games 1 and 3 I think are squarely in New York's favor.
CC Sabathia seems to be turning it on just like he did last year, having allowed just two runs in his last two starts (17 innings, both wins - one against the Orioles). But best of luck to Brad Bergesen in his first start in New York, as he will have to go against Sabathia in tonight's game.
Game 3 figures to offer some fireworks Thursday night, as it will be Huff-Chamberlain, Part Deux. When last these two met, Aubrey Huff hit a three-run homer off of Joba Chamberlain and mocked the Yankees starter's trademarked fist pump. If I were Huff, I'd expect something high and tight early in the at-bat, Joe Torre's Yankees may not have sent messages but Joe Girardi's just might. Even though Chamberlain said he had no problem with it, according to former Post writer Marc Carig, his right arm just might.
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