The Orioles begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees tonight at Yankee Stadium. At this point in the season, the two teams seem to be heading in opposite directions.

Although many people picked the Orioles to finish with one of the worst records in the major leagues, the team has continued to exceed expectations and currently sits in third place in the American League East with a 23-20 record.


On the other hand, the Yankees are 20-24 and in last place in the division. They have lost five of their past six games, including a two-game sweep by the New York Mets over the weekend. The Mets outscored the Yankees, 18-6, in the series.

The Bronx Bombers have only scored in double digits one time this season – a 15-9 victory over the Boston Red Sox on April 16. They are tied with the Orioles for 11th in the American League in runs scored (179).

However, their offense should receive a boost with the return of third baseman Alex Rodriguez tonight. Rodriguez is set to return to the lineup after missing almost three weeks with a strained right quadriceps.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday 5/20: Daniel Cabrera (4-1, 3.58) vs. Mike Mussina (6-3, 3.99)

Wednesday 5/21: Garrett Olson (3-0, 3.47) vs. Darrell Rasner (2-0, 3.00)

Thursday 5/22: Brian Burres (4-4, 3.47) vs. Ian Kennedy (0-3, 8.48)

Who you should play from the Yankees

Alex Rodriguez, 3B – Is there really anyone else that should be in this spot? When he's healthy, Rodriguez is one of the best hitters in baseball. It's important to activate him immediately if you've got him on your fantasy team. In his career, Rodriguez has a .311 batting average, 42 home runs and 135 RBIs in 154 games against the Orioles.

Who you should bench from the Yankees

Johnny Damon, OF – Damon is hitting .250 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 2008. He leads the team in runs scored (28) and stolen bases (five). However, he's been struggling offensively in May. Damon is hitting .207 with two home runs, five RBIs and nine runs scored in 14 games this month. He is 3-for-30 in his past seven games. In his career, Damon is 4-for-24 (.167) against Daniel Cabrera and 1-for-7 against Brian Burres. He's never faced Garrett Olson. If he's on your fantasy team, sit Damon on your bench until he starts hitting again.

Who you should play from the Orioles

Nick Markakis, RF – In 17 career games at Yankee Stadium, Markakis is hitting .304 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. He is 4-for-12 with two doubles against Mike Mussina in his career, but the best matchup for Markakis in this series is Darrell Rasner, who starts tomorrow night's game. Markakis is 5-for-5 lifetime against Rasner. The 24-year-old right fielder is only hitting .217 in May, but it won't be long before he gets hot again.

Who you should bench from the Orioles


Aubrey Huff, DH – In the first month of the season, Huff had five home runs and 19 RBIs. He did an excellent job of making fans forget about his offseason comments. However, Huff is only hitting .238 with one home run and four RBIs in May. After scoring 15 runs in April, Huff has only scored six this month. It might be good idea to put him on your bench and only use him in certain matchups for now.