Category: Bartolo Colon

Pitching matchups vs. the Athletics

CC Sabathia will look to dominate the Athletics.

CC Sabathia will look to dominate the Athletics.

These are the starters that the Yankees and Athletics (16-13) will send out during the three-game weekend series. These will be the final three games of the 10-game home stand that the Yankee have had. They have so far gone 6-1.

Tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Ace of the staff CC Sabathia (4-2, 3.35 ERA) vs. RHP A.J. Griffin (2-2, 4.65 ERA)

Saturday at 1:05 p.m.

The resurgent Phil Hughes (0-2, 4.67 ERA) vs. the ageless former Yankee, Bartolo Colon (3-0, 3.38 ERA)

Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Andy Pettitte (3-2, 3.86 ERA), who is coming off his first sub-par start of the season will be opposed by Dan Straily (1-0, 6.35 ERA)

In more disabled list news, Joba Chamberlain was put on the 15-day DL as a result of a strained oblique. Relief pitcher Preston Claiborne was called up from AAA Scranton to replace him on the roster. He can add more depth in the bullpen.

However, he will not be able to be relied upon like Joba Chamberlain was. Claiborne deserved to be called up because he had 10 strikeouts and only one walk in 10.1 innings pitched for the RailRiders. With Robertson sidelined for this series it seems like Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan will setup Mariano Rivera.

The Yankees (17-10) have also recently called up Vidal Nuno from their AAA affiliate. With the recent injuries to Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova and Chamberlain the Bronx Bombers now have a grand total of 10 players on the disabled list. They have shown the ability to overcome adversity so far this season since all of the major replacements have performed admirably. One player the Yankees can’t afford to have injured is Robinson Cano, who leads the team in average, homers, RBI and runs.

In CC Sabathia’s last start he allowed three runs in eight innings in a win against Toronto. He is the pitcher that the Yankees want pitching tonight because he should be able to limit the innings pitched from the bullpen. Griffin has struggled this season for the A’s, but in 2012 he had a 3.06 ERA, which means the Yankees could have to play small ball. For the A’s, Coco Crisp has eight steals for far, so Austin Romine and Chris Stewart will have to contain him on the base paths.

The Yankees appear to have the edge tonight and on Sunday, but Saturday’s game could go either way because their lineup has a lot of experience hitting against Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes might not be able to continue his streak of allowing two runs his past three outings.

The return of Big Bart???

The heft righty tosses the ball to himself during a start.

It was recently reported, by Wallace Mathews, that everybody’s favorite reclamation project, Bartolo Colon, has a good chance at wearing pinstripes again during the 2012 campaign.

Nobody could have realistically predicted that Colon, who had not successfully been able to stay healthy and pitch the whole season since 2005, would be able to have the stats that he produced this season, especially in the first half.  It might have been partly due to his stem cell procedure, but he proved the type of pitcher that he is capable of being when not sidelined by injury.

However, as a result of his production during the 2011 season he will be asking for a pay raise, as a reported by Mathews.  I am not really in favor of this because I am not sure the Yankees can count on him replicating last season or even improving.

If Colon is able to give the Yankees close to the same 4.00 ERA, 135 strikeouts, 40 walks, 26 starts and 164.1 innings that he gave them in 2011 then he would be worth bringing back, but I don’t think they can count on these stats again.  He was an amazing, under the radar, cheap signing by General Manager, Brian Cashman, before Spring Training, but at his advanced age (38) he is not worth bringing back at anything more than 1 million.

The 2011 campaign was the first one that he made more than 18 starts since his dominating CY Young season, in 2005, where he made 33 starts, had 21 wins, pitched 222.2 innings, had 157 strikeouts and had a 1.15 WHIP for the Angels.  Cashman should reward him with a very small raise (over his $900,000 from 2011) but not give into overspending for a pitcher that will be 39 in May and could breakdown at any moment.

Since the 2005 season, Colon has had numerous injuries that caused him to miss time including inflammation in his right shoulder, a hamstring injury, injured ligaments in his throwing elbow and shoulder and in 2009 he suffered an undisclosed injury after his 12th start.  His 265 pound frame surely does not help him prevent injury.

In all regards, Colon had a successful campaign in 2011, was an instrumental piece of the Yankees’ success, deserves to be a starter or long reliever in 2012, but because of the above reasons he is not a pitcher worth gambling on.  However, if they can sign him for 1 million as a long reliever/fifth starter I would do that.

(I realize that the Yankees are not a small market team, and can afford to spend more than 1 million on a 38 year-old pitcher, but there is no point in doing so on Colon if they can find a younger, more reliable/durable one for 3 million.)

Yankees are in good shape as Boston is in panic mode, as they have 3 set up for awards

As the Yankees make their way back east to play the Blue Jays in Toronto they are officially on cruise control heading into the playoffs as they are in first place by 4.5 games over the Red Sox, as Boston is crumbling to the finish.  The Yankees should also have three players receivers hardware at season’s end and possibly a fourth.

The Bronx Bombers are basically firing on all cylinders but the Red Sox are hoping to finish the season as the Wild Card qualifier.

The Red Sox are 2-9 in their last 11 games and that last loss was to the Rays in the first game of their critical four-game series against Tampa.  The Rays are now only 3 games out of the Wild Card spot with 13 games left to play and they have a realistic chance of qualifying if they can win at least two more games in Fenway.   Tampa, on the other hand, is 8-3 in their last 11 games and is surging down the home stretch just like the Tigers who have won 12 straight games.

Manager Joe Girardi’s team could play a role into who makes the playoffs, the Red Sox or the Rays, since they play the Rays in Tampa the last three games of the season.

Three of the major reasons that the Yankees are in the position that they are in are Bartolo Colon, Ivan Nova and Curtis Granderson.  These players should be a shoe in for post-season awards along with CC Sebathia who will certainly finish in the top five of the CY Young voting.

At the beginning of the season, everybody thought Granderson would contribute and be a solid all around player but nobody could have predicted that he would be able to be deserving of the American League MVP.

He has been able to continue his turn-around since last season’s meeting with hitting Coach Kevin Long, last August, in Texas, by being the top hitter in baseball since that time along with Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays.  However, since Granderson plays for a playoff team he is more deserving of the award.

Granderson has played gold glove caliber defense in center-field and he has also drastically improved his hitting against lefties, since his average is .274 this season against them compared to .234 in 2010.  The only part of his arsenal that would slightly take away from his MVP candidacy is his low .265 average but all of his other statistics across the board are MVP worthy.

The Grandy Man, as radio announcer John Sterling refers to him, is second in the AL with 39 home runs, is in a three way tie at 111 RBI with Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox, is second in the league with 10 triples, is 12th in the league with 24 steals and in the runs scored category he is in first place by a grand total of 17.

It is unheard of that a player who is in the top three in home runs and RBI is also second in triples and has the amount of steals that he has.  That seems to be evidence right there that he should be the MVP.

The Yankees would be nowhere near where they are in the standings right now without Granderson.  What makes him even better is that he was able to drastically improve his weakness since last season and that he is so helpful with his Grand Kids Foundation around the community.

The other players that are in line for awards are both pitchers.

Even though Nova started seven games last season, he did not pitch enough innings in 2010 to not still be considered a rookie in 2011.  It sure seems like it helped Nova getting a feel for the big leagues last season as he has blossomed into a number two starter this season.  Last season the knock against him was that he pitched well the first one or two times through the order, but then in the fifth inning he would falter and lose his command.

This season he has been a much improved starter as he 15 wins and would have a chance for a 20 win campaign if not for getting sent to the minors for most of the month of July as a result of Phil Hughes’ return.  Unlike A.J. Burnett he is not flustered after allowing one or two early runs, in fact he is usually able to dominate for the duration of his start after doing so.

He has a very respectable 3.81 ERA, but in 10 starts since July 1st he has only allowed more than three earned runs once.  Ivan “Super” Nova has also gone 14 starts without picking up a loss, since the beginning of July, picking up 11 wins in that time period.  During his winning streak he has passed Hall of Famer, Whitey Ford, among other less heralded Yankees.

The above statistics should definitely add up to Nova winning the Rookie of the Year because he has been pitching well beyond his years especially during his history second half of the season.

He is confident in his skills but not cocky.  A few weeks ago it made more sense to allow Colon to start the second game of the playoffs but now since Nova has been so consistent, and has proven to be able to pitch under pressure he should be the number two starter.

The only statistic that would make it somewhat of a toss-up at this point is that he has a 4.42 ERA at home but a 3.26 ERA at home this season.  However, Colon excels even more on the road as his ERA sits a 2.96 but at home it is 4.24.  Nova has been more consistent recently than Colon so he should get the edge and that high ERA at home by Nova is more a result of his shakier first half.

Colon is the third pitcher who is destined for a postseason award and that would be the Comeback Player of the Year.

This is by far his best season since his healthy season in 2005, when he received the CY Young award (best pitcher in the league), for the Anaheim Angels.  The reason that he did not pitch during the 2010 season was because he had right shoulder pain and damage to his rotator cuff, ligaments and tendons.

He returned to the Yankees this season on a cheap minor league contract and his been one of the best bargains in baseball.  He has an excellent strikeout to walk ratio as he is 128 K’s to only 36 walks. That is more than a three to one ratio.  He has had so much movement on his pitches that he has greatly resembled his 2005 form at times.

Colon had a five-game stretch from July 19th to August 11th where he allowed two runs or less in every start.  He only has eight wins but because of his 3.55 ERA that number could be more like 13 or 14 but he has not gotten enough run support in some of his starts.

It is remarkable that he has been able to pitch 152 innings this season without breaking down besides for a few starts like the two games on August 17th and 23rd where he allowed five runs.

He has dominated in two out of his last three starts and the Yankees will be able to count on him in the playoffs to pitch a quality start, in the first round of the playoffs, which will most likely be against the Detroit Tigers or Texas Rangers.

These three players have outperformed expectations but one player lived up to them in every way is CC Sebathia.  He was the ace of the staff coming into the season and has had an even betters campaign than last year when he finished third in the CY Young voting.

Sebathia has a 19 wins, 216 strikeouts with a 2.93 ERA but will likely not win the CY Young because of the even more outstanding seasons that Jared Weaver and especially Justin Verlander are having.  Verlander, the Tigers ace, has 23 wins, 238 strikeouts and 2.36 ERA.

Sebathia has also been nominated by the Yankees for the Roberto Clemente award for his philanthropic efforts through his PitCChing in Foundation, which he founded with his wife in 2009.  An example of his work in the community is that last week the foundation donated 1,700 backpacks filled with school supplies to 3rd – 5th grade students at P.S. 106 in the Bronx.

These four players described above have been outstanding overall for the team this season helping to lead the Yankees into the playoffs and possibly another World Series championship.

CC Sebathia looks to prevent the losing streak from reaching four tonight in Anaheim

After the Yankees (2.5 ahead of the Red Sox in AL East) lost last night to the Angels 2-1, behind a dominating eight innings by Jared Weaver, who gave up three hits including Jesus Montero’s third home run and sixth RBI in six games, CC Sebathia will pitch looking to get the Yankees back on track.

Weaver is one of the top five starters in the American League, sporting a 2.44 ERA and 187 strike outs, so his dominance of the Yankee lineup is not that surprising even though he was coming off two shaky starts. The Yankees will possibly face Weaver twice in the playoffs so if this happens they will need to figure him out before the postseason starts.

There were two major positives to take out of this game.

One was the aforementioned Montero continued to jolt the offense by supplying power and average out of the Designated Hitter spot.  It seems like he will positively affect the Yankees down the home-stretch of the season in a similar way that Joba Chamberlain did out of the bullpen in 2007.

The second is that Bartolo Colon (3.55 ERA) bounced back from a month of August where he was not nearly as dominating as in previous months.  He had three rocky stars in August, where he allowed four runs or more three times, but he bounced back with a vengeance limiting the Angels offense to zero earned runs in seven innings.

This start by Colon should cement his name as the winner of the Comeback Player of the Year after missing the entire 2010 campaign because of a rotator cuff injury.  After this game against the Halos he was probably thinking back to 2005, which was the last time he picked up hardware being named the Angels second CY Young recipient.

The Yankees were in position play their third consecutive extra inning contest, after losing two in a row to the Orioles, but the Angels scored in the bottom of the ninth off of a Maicier Izturis sacrifice fly that drove in Jeremy Moore, who pinch ran for Alberto Callaspo.  The run was charged to Aaaron Laffey as he gave up Callaspo’s single but Luis Ayala gave up the sac fly.

Sabathia is the pitcher the Yankees want to stop this three-game losing streak as he is also in the top five in CY Young consideration this season.  He is coming off four straight quality starts, has 19 wins and a 2.97 ERA but will be pitching behind a lineup with some notable absences.

The somewhat fragile Alex Rodriguez in not playing and is being replaced by Eric Chavez.  Nick Swisher whose elbow is hurting will be replaced by the infielder, Eduardo Nunez, in right-field.  Also, the Yankees received some troubling news as Francisco Cervelli was originally in the lineup but now is not because of concussion symptoms and is being sent for an impact test.

Nobody has any idea how Nunez will handle playing right-field especially after making so many errors at second/short but he is able to be productive at the plate.

The Yankees need another vintage Sebathia start to help them end their losing streak and hopefully their offense will pick up where it left off against Angels starter Dan Haren.

Haren is having a solid season for the Angels with a 3.20 ERA but in his start in the Bronx earlier this season he allowed four runs in 6.2 innings.

An advantage that the Yankees should be able to capitalize on is that the Angels offense is weaker than in years past, as nobody is hitting higher than .290 (Howie Kendrick), or has more than 80 RBI (rookie Mike Trumbo).  However, the Angels have been playing potent baseball recently as they are only 2.5 games behing the Texas Rangers and 7-3 in their last 10 contests.

Yankees lose 5-4 to the Orioles for the 2nd day in a row, head to the sunny skies of Anaheim

The Yankees lost for the second game in a row to the Baltimore Orioles by the score of 5-4 in extra innings, but the culprit this time was actually the bullpen.  After playing the Orioles at home for three games they had to travel to Baltimore, during a rare off day, for one game, to make up a game that was postponed due to Hurricane Irene.

Ivan Nova pitched well enough to get the victory, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings and it would have made sense for Girardi to have left him in to finish the sixth inning since he was only at 98 pitches.  This was Nova’s 13th start since June 3rd and he is remarkably not picked up a loss in any of them, while getting the victory 11 times.

However, he was on track to win the game since Alfredo Simon gave up four runs in the first three innings.  All the runs actually came off of singles.  In the top of the second, Eric Chavez singled to shortstop scoring Alex Rodriguez.  Later in the inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Derek Jeter singled to shallow center scoring Robinson Cano and Chavez.

In the top of the third Chavez would collect his second single of the afternoon and thus his second RBI as Mark Teixiera scored from second after a rare steal.  After the fourth inning the Yankees failed to have a runner reach scoring position off of five Orioles relievers.

They were shut off the bases by four of those relievers and three of them – Clay Rapada, Jeremy Accardo and Jo-Jo Reyes – have ERA’s over 5.18.  They will need to improve their hitting against relief pitching as they will be facing relieves who are much more dominating in the coming series against the Angels in Anaheim, as well as in the playoffs.

Baltimore was led by likely Hall of Famer, Vladimir Guerrero, who was 3-5, with a homer off of Nova.  The real hero for the Orioles during this game was the speedy Robert Andino out of the ninth spot in the Baltimore lineup.  He won the game for the O’s as he had an RBI single in the 8th off of Rafael Soriano for his second blown save, and a walk-off single in the 10th off of the newly re-acquired Scott Proctor.

They Yankees were lucky that the Blue Jays helped them out once again by beating the Red Sox to keep their division lead at 2.5 games.

The Angels have been surging of late, having won six of their last 10, and they also won seven of eight towards the end of August.  Anaheim is now only 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers so it is possible that the Yankees will play them in the first round of the playoffs.

However, the Detroit Tigers (who lead the AL Central by 8.5 games), Rangers and Angels are all only separated by 2.5 games so we likely will not know the first round pairings until the last few days of the season.  If the Red Sox win the Wild Card as they in position to right now they will play the division winner with the second best record and the Yankees will play the other division winner.

As of now the most favorable matchup for the Yankees would be if the Angels do indeed overtake the Rangers in the AL West since they have the weakest offense and the Yankees hit pretty well against their starters, which even includes CY Young candidate Jared Weaver.

They don’t want the take the mindset of scoreboard watching to set up their first round matchup but facing the Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander (22 wins, 2.44 ERA, 232 strikeouts) twice in the first round would be very imposing.

The Yankees should have been able to win three or even four of the games during their makeshift series against the last place Orioles, but they played down to the competition in the last two games with errors, not hitting in the clutch and A.J. Burnett pitching on Wednesday.   They also had to deal with a lot of rain.

After playing in what seemed like monsoon conditions at times the Yankees are definitely happy to be playing cross country near Disney Land for three games against the Angels.  They will get to avoid the rain for at least three days, play under the sun, but will unfortunately have to face Weaver on Friday after not much rest.

The hefty Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.72 ERA, 123 strikeouts) who has been consistently reliable and at times dominating, surpassing any expectations that Cashman would have had for him, will pitch against the team that he won the CY Young for in 2005.  That was also the last season that he was healthy for the whole campaign.

Colon should be a lock for the Comeback Player of the Year after the blast from the past season that he has put together, especially since he was out of baseball during 2010 due to right shoulder pain and damage to his rotator cuff.

Usually teams that are playing games on the other side of the country have a travel day but the Yankees off day was ruined because of the makeup game yesterday.

The Yankees lead the season series 4-2 after struggling against the Angels in years past.  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, (who have gimmicks like the rally monkey that the Yankees would never use) have been the Yankees nemesis in the playoffs in previous seasons but it seems like they match up better this season.

Yankees split four game set in Baltimore, before their clash with the Red Sox

The Yankees defeated the Orioles, 3-2, behind timely hitting and effective pitching all around by Freddy Garcia as well as the bullpen.  This win gave them a split of the interrupted four-game series against the last place Orioles, in Baltimore.

Freddy Garcia only allowed four base runners during his very solid first start after returning from his short stint on the disabled list.  The only run that he allowed was a homer to the free swinging Mark Reynolds, who can usually be counted on hitting a ball out of the park or striking out.

Garcia has a stellar 3.09 ERA, while continuing his pre disabled list ownership of the American League with his sixth straight start allowing three runs or less.  More impressively, in four of those starts he has allowed one run or less.

Down the stretch their will be a three-way battle between Garcia, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes for the number three spot in the Yankees playoff rotation.  As of now, Garcia should get the edge because he has been battle tested, pitching in many more big games during his career than Nova or Hughes.  Nobody would have thought that Bartolo Colon and Garcia could have been the two and three starters for the Yankes, in the playoffs, at the beginning of the season.

Mark Teixiera got the scoring started in the first hitting a double to drive in Curtis Granderson, for his 100th RBI, which is his sixth season driving in 100 runs or more.  Teixiera continued his recent surge at the plate as he is 6-12 in his last three games

In the fourth inning, Nick Swisher would give the Yankees all the scoring they would need off of Alfred Simon as his homer to deep right drove in Robinson Cano. Six of Swisher’s last eight hits have been home runs which is unbelievable.  He now has a .267 average, with 21 homers and 77 RBI’s, which is a total reversal of fortune from how he was hitting earlier in the season.

The normally perfect David Robertson, who had not surrendered a run in his last 13 appearances, actually gave up a home run to J.J. Hardy, to deep left center, to make the game interesting.  However Robertson, also known as Houdini, would buckle down afterwards, striking out two in the inning while getting the hold.

Mariano Rivera has more saves against the Orioles than against any other team.  That is not all that surprising since they are in the AL East and have struggled for much of Rivera’s career.

He entered the game with a 3-2 lead facing Vladimir Guerrero.  Rivera would tip the ball with his glove, so that Cano could field it near second and make a strong throw to Teixiera at first.  He would go on to retire the side in order like he has so many times during his Hall of Fame career.

Rivera has now been perfect in his last five innings, not allowing a walk or hit during those games.  The last time he faltered was during three games against the Angels and Red Sox.  The Yankees will now be facing the Red Sox for three games in Boston, so hopefully Rivera can start as well as CC Sebathia can dominate the Red Sox.

They now trail the Red Sox by 1.5 games and are 2-10 in the season series.  Sebathia, (17-7, 2.99 ERA) the Yankees ace, has had a CY Young caliber season and would be a lock for the award over Justin Verlander if it was not for his struggles against Boston.

During four starts this season against the Red Sox, he has a sky-high 7.20 ERA, with a 1.72 WHIP and 10 walks in 25 innings.  He will pitch tonight, against John Lackey, (5.98 ERA) who lacks a decent ERA.  Hopefully Sebathia will be able to execute his pitches and pitch well tonight like he has against the rest of the AL East.  He has been a workhorse for the team, throwing at least seven innings in his last 14 starts, receiving the win in nine of those decisions.

The Red Sox and Yankees will clash three more times after this three game set in Boston, and these six games will go a long way towards deciding who gets to win the division and thus face the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the playoffs.

The Yankees were again without the duo of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez but were still able to win the last two games without them.  There is a chance that both will play during the  series in Boston.

Rivera is now only eight saves away (592) from Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list so he should be able to pass him before the end of the season.

Yankees offense has an Irene induced hangover against Zach Britton

In the first game of a doubleheader, the Yankees bats came back rusty, after the team had to spend Saturday in their Baltimore hotel during Hurricane Irene, being shut out 2-0 by Zach Britton, for the Orioles (53-77) sixth straight win.

Britton allowed one run in his last start after allowing an alarming 17 in his previous three.  This was an unexpected pitching performance from Britton because in his last start against the Yankees, on July 30th, he didn’t make it out of the first-inning while allowing six runs on seven hits.

Bartolo Colon will get over-shadowed by Britton because the Orioles got the victory, but Colon had a very respectable start in his own right.  He dominated the O’s for the most part, shutting out the opposition for six innings while allowing a run in the seventh and eighth.   In each of his last two starts he allowed five runs and two home runs, so the Colon from earlier in the season has returned.

There is some question as to who should be the number two starter behind CC Sebathia in the playoffs, but if can Colon can display another start like he did today, it should likely be him.  He was able to locate all of his pitches today and the over-weight Colon has been the Yankees most consistent starter this year besides Sebathia.

The only hitter who produced for the Yankees was Mark Teixeira, who chipped in with three hits, but they were wasted because everybody near him in the lineup failed to reach base.  The Bronx Bombers could only muster two other hits during the contest.

Curtis Granderson is having his first major cold stretch, during his MVP caliber season, as he is now three for his last 26.  However, he held his head high after the game, giving praise to the Orioles starter by giving all the credit to him.

The Yankees should have been able to score some runs but sometimes the pitcher just has the upper-hand, commanding all his pitches while knowing the scouting report, and that is what happened this after-noon.

The game winner ended up being Vladimir Guerrero’s single through the infield to Nick Swisher in right-field, which scored Nick Markakis.  This would give Baltimore a lead that their suspect bullpen would not surrender.

After Colon struck out Robert Andino looking on the outside corner to give the Orioles two outs in the eighth, J.J. Hardy would go on to hit a single between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to make the score 2-0.  That would spell the end of Colon’s afternoon.  Sometimes pitchers get hard luck losses like this one, but on the other hand sometimes they get the victory after allowing five runs.

In the ninth inning Teixiera added his third hit by hitting a line drive off of the first base bag, which bounced into right field.  Rodriguez had the opportunity to tie the game with one swing, be he did not cooperate.  He hit into a tailor made double play right to Hardy at short to give the Orioles the first two wins of this four game set.

This also gave struggling closer Kevin Gregg (4.32 ERA) his 19th save of the year.  Also, the Orioles hit seven hits, two more than the Yankees, but they were able to take advantage of scoring opportunities.

At one point the Yankees had three hits and Teixeira had a two of them, which is not a promising sign for victory, even though Colon only allowed two runs.  Also, the Yankees’ seven strikeouts were way too many against the caliber of pitching that they were facing.

Hopefully the second game of the double-header brings enough runs so that the end game combination of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera can shut down the Orioles for a Yankees victory.  After not getting a hit this afternoon, Alex Rodriguez will have the evening off being replaced by Eduardo Nunez, at third.

Ivan Nova will pitch tonight, and they need another solid start out of him in order to have a chance of splitting the series on Monday.  He is likely one of three names in consideration for Rookie of the Year and he deserves it because of his 13 wins, while having gone more than nine starts without a loss.

On the other hand, Orioles starter Brian Matusz is having one of the worst seasons in all of baseball.  The Yankees offense should be looking forward to the first pitch as Matusz has allowed five earned runs or more in his last four starts, and has a sky-high ERA of 8.92.  The former fourth overall pick in 2008 has not nearly lived up to expectations so the Yankees should be able to have their way with him.