There's no shame in losing two out of three at Fenway Park, but with the rubber game pitting CC Sabathia against Josh Beckett, the Yankees should've come away with the series win in Boston over the weekend.
After an off-day, New York (5-4) returns home to host the first-place Baltimore Orioles (6-3), who have continued to flourish under manager Buck Showalter. Baltimore is 40-26 since he took over last year, so this is a team that needs to be taken seriously.
The O's offense is still struggling, but the pitching staff has been among the best in baseball, ranking ninth in ERA (3.33) and second in batting average against (.216). However, their two best starters so far, Jeremy Guthrie and Zach Britton, will miss this series.
Let's take a look at the pitching matchups for this three-game set in the Bronx.
Tuesday, April 12 - A.J. Burnett (2-0, 4.09) vs. Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38)
Burnett has shown no signs of last season's struggles thus far, winning both of his starts with solid performances. The often wild right-hander has issued just three walks in 11 innings, compared to 11 strikeouts.
Burnett is 11-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 18 career starts against the Orioles. J.J. Hardy is 5-for-10 with two doubles off him, but is headed to the disabled list with a left oblique strain. Felix Pie is 5-for-15 and Brian Roberts is 15-for-50 (.300) with 10 RBI, but for the most part, Burnett has held Baltimore's hitters in check.
How many games will the Yanks win vs. the O's in this series?
Vladimir Guerrero is just 12-for-50 (.240) with 12 strikeouts, Cesar Izturis is 6-for-27 (.222) and Matt Wieters will probably get a day off as he is an astonishing 0-for-17 against Burnett.
Tillman tossed six shutout innings in his first start at Tampa Bay, but he followed that up with a poor outing against Detroit on Thursday. The right-hander allowed four runs on six hits and two walks over 4.2 frames.
Tillman is 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in three starts versus New York, and he allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings in his only outing at Yankee Stadium.
The current roster is 18-for-47 (.383) off Tillman, with Robinson Cano leading the way at a ridiculous 6-for-7 (.857) clip. Only Jorge Posada (0-for-6, 3 K's) really struggles against him, so Tuesday may be a good time to give the scuffling veteran a day off.
Prediction: Yankees 5, Orioles 4
Wednesday, April 13 - Phil Hughes (0-1, 16.50) vs. Brad Bergesen (0-1, 4.91)
Hughes has looked awful over his first two starts. In his latest outing at Fenway Park on Friday, the right-hander's velocity was down once again as he surrendered six runs on seven hits over just two innings. If his fastball doesn't return to 92 mph over his next few starts, the Yankees will probably have to put him on the disabled list or send him down to Triple-A to work out his issues.
Hughes is 4-2 with a 5.04 ERA in 11 appearances (eight starts) against Baltimore. Luke Scott has terrorized him, picking up seven hits in 13 at-bats (.538), but Roberts is just 2-for-13 (.154).
With Hardy headed to the DL, the Orioles are expected to recall Bergesen to make this start in place of Chris Jakubauskas (0-0, 15.00 ERA). Bergesen yielded four runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks over 3.2 nnings in a 7-3 loss to the Tigers last Wednesday before being sent down to Triple-A.
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA in three career starts versus the Yankees, with all three appearances coming in the Bronx.
Alex Rodriguez is 3-for-8 (.375) with a homer off Bergesen, while Curtis Granderson is 3-for-6 with three RBI and Cano is 3-for-7 (.429). Mark Teixeira, however, is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
Prediction: Orioles 10, Yankees 5
Thursday, April 14 - Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10) vs. Jake Arrieta (1-1, 8.68)
Nova's struggles against the Red Sox continued on Saturday, when he gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks over 4.1 innings in Boston, but he should fare better against a weaker lineup like the Orioles.
In his only appearance against Baltimore last year, the right-hander allowed two runs in six innings. Wieters took him deep in that game, but he struck out Pie twice.
After a solid one-run, six-inning debut against the Tigers, Arrieta was knocked around by the Rangers for eight runs in 3.1 innings on Saturday. Britton also pitched that day in a double header, but Arrieta drew the assignment against the Yankees because he has had success against them.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts versus New York, and he allowed just two runs over 6.1 innings in his only career appearance at Yankee Stadium.
Derek Jeter and Cano are both 2-for-5 with a double and a walk off Arrieta, but Nick Swisher is 0-for-5.
Prediction: Yankees 6, Orioles 4
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Jordan is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and authorhouse.com.
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