The New York Yankees are struggling to keep their heads above water, and when it rains it pours. It’s been one big injury after another with the latest casualty being the Yankees’ best pitcher this season, Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees are beginning a three-game series with the first-place Baltimore Orioles tonight that could be pivotal between New York staying in the division race or starting to fall out of it.
Despite injuries to four of New York’s five pitchers from the opening day rotation, they’re still only four games behind the Orioles. The Yankees need to gain some ground this weekend before the All-Star break hits. It’s hard to believe the bombers will sweep the O’s, who have won eight of their last 10 games, but New York needs to at least win the series.
Not only does this series give the Yankees a chance to gain some ground in the AL East, but it also gives them a chance to even the score with their division rivals. New York is 2-4 so far this year against Baltimore and has been badly outscored 38-19. The Yankees have gotten the better of the O’s for more than a decade; the last time they lost a season series to Baltimore was way back in 1997.
Of course, the history isn’t what’s important, staying close to the division leader is. Considering there’s still half of a season left, it won’t be easy for the Yanks to stay afloat and contend into mid-September, but they could be throwing in the towel sooner than later if they lose this series in Baltimore. The Yanks could find themselves six or seven games behind if things don’t go well these next three games.
The Yankees will get their best remaining pitcher to start the series tonight in Hiroki Kuroda. It may also be their best opportunity to win a game this weekend, but anything can happen. With all of the injuries to New York’s starters and factoring in all of the innings the bullpen has already had to throw this year, the Yankees may have to lean on their offense to win some games. Unfortunately, the bombers haven’t fared well in high-scoring games. They’re 9-16 this year in games decided by five runs or more.
The odds are certainly stacked against the Yankees from here on out, but they must find a way to get at least two wins in Baltimore this weekend and enter the All-Star break on a positive note.