The Yankees are in Baltimore tonight for a very big series with the Orioles, who currently hold a six game lead over their New York rivals.
The Yankees, who have lost six of nine games to the O's this season, including two of three in Camden Yards, can not afford to lose any ground this week, meaning they'll need to steal at least two of three games, starting tonight at 7:05 p.m.
New York went into Saturday's game against the Cleveland Indians having won three straight, including taking three of four from the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week, then managed to go the entire weekend scoring only one run -- a solo homerun from Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs in the 9th inning in Sunday -- as they lost the final two games against the Indians.
The Yankees can't afford more games like that this week as they go up against the O's and Tampa Bay Rays down at The Trop this weekend.
Tonight's lineup against Baltimore:
LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Carlos Beltran
3B Chase Headley
2B Stephen Drew
RF Martin Prado
C Francisco Cervelli
* The Yankees optioned RHP Bryan Mitchell back to the minors after tossing two scoreless innings in his major league debut on Sunday. Chris Leroux has been called up from Triple-A Scranton to give the Yankees another fresh arm in the bullpen.
Pitching matchup preview:
With the playoff race starting to heat up, the Yankees will send left-hander Chris Capuano to the mound on Monday night for the series opener.
Capuano took home a no-decision in his last start, against the Tigers last week, giving up just one earned run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. He out-dueled Tigers starter Justin Verlander, surprising everybody with a great outing.
Right-hander Bud Norris will be on the mound to take on the Yankees this evening.
Norris brings in a 2.63 ERA since the All-Star break, having pitched very well over the past few weeks. Norris suffered a loss in his more recent outing, giving up just two runs over 5 1/3 inning -- the Orioles' offense wasn't able to back him up with any runs.
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