The Orioles have won four straight and six of theirplast seven as they open a three-game series against the division-leading New York Yankees. But tonight, they will face Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda, who put together arguably the most dominating pitching performance against the Orioles this season.
On May 10 at Yankee Stadium, Pineda struck out 16 Orioles over seven innings, tying the record for an opposing pitcher against the O’s in a nine-inning game while holding them to one run on six hits.
“I think he was expanding the strike zone just enough to where he was enticing us to swing,” Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said. “I think you have to be more aggressive in the zone. I know that’s easier said than done … but a guy like that, you have to know that strike one, strike two are important. You can’t give it to him. You’ve got to make him work for it. It’s being patiently aggressive, which is hard for this offense to do, but I think you’ve seen it the past few nights. The better at-bats we have, the more pitches we see, the better off we’ve been.”
In six career starts against the Orioles, Pineda is 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA.
“Tonight, I think the biggest thing for us is trying to get him on the run early,” Davis said. “He’s a guy who the longer you let him stay around, the more comfortable he’s going to get and the harder it’s going to get for you. So I think we’ve got to score early and give ourselves a chance to get to their bullpen.”
In other Orioles news:
-- Right-hander Kevin Gausman, who threw 61 pitches over 3 1/3 innings Thursday on a rehabilitation start at Double-A Bowie, will make his next start Tuesday for High-A Frederick, but he is only scheduled to go two innings.
Since Gausman returned from shoulder tendinitis, the club’s intent was to stretch him out as a starter with the hope of him joining the rotation. So Gausman throwing just two innings in his next outing is peculiar.
But the Orioles rotation and pitching staff is in flux. The team was able to maneuver through their three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox with one man down in the bullpen because of Brian Matusz's suspension. Right-hander Mike Wright, called up when Miguel Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list Thursday, will likely take Gonzalez’s start Sunday unless he’s needed in the bullpen before then. Triple-A right-hander Tyler Wilson and left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland are other options for Sunday.
Shortening up Gausman allows the Orioles to activate him from the DL as a reliever if an extra optionable arm is needed, but also gives the team flexibility to start him next Friday if needed.
-- Second baseman Jonathan Schoop (partial PCL tear/MCL sprain in right knee) will return to Baltimore on Sunday and continue his rehab with the club Monday through Thursday. Showalter said Schoop could then begin a minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie if he’s ready.
He could also just work out with the team while the Orioles are on the road and not begin a rehab assignment.
Here are both team’s starting lineups for tonight’s game:
Ubaldo Jimenez RHP
Michael Pineda RHP