Coming off of a three-game sweep of the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees will look to do the same thing to the Baltimore Orioles, who are making their second stop in the Bronx this season after taking two of three games down in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Ray earlier in the week.
The Yankees, 7-2 in their last nine games and 9-4 in their last 13, coming off their fourth series sweep of the season, enter play just a game and a half being Toronto, while Baltimore stands 2 1/5 games back, having won six of their past 10 games.
With the Blue Jays struggling lately, and now heading off to Cincinnati for three-games against the Reds, this could be a big series for both the Yankees and Orioles in terms of trying to gain control of such a fragile AL East right now.
Tonight's lineup against Baltimore:
LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
DH Carlos Beltran
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Brian Roberts
3B Yangervis Solarte
Pitching matchup preview:
Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball for the Yankees tonight in this series opener, coming off of a very short outing against the Oakland Athletics last week, giving up four runs in 4 2/3 innings after a 38-minute lighting delay when a set of lights in the o.Co Coliseum failed to turn on.
The Yankees re-signed Kuroda over the offseason with hopes that he would be able to lead the rotation one more time after getting off to a great start in 2014, but he hasn't lived up to the expectations this season, sporting a 4-5 record and 4.32 ERA coming into his start tonight, which is his second against the O's this season.
Baltimore will counter with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, allowed two earned runs over six innings in his last outing against Toronto. Jimenez does not have very good numbers in his career against the Yankees, coming into tonight's game with a 1-4 record and 6.67 ERA in five career starts against the Bombers.