The Baltimore Orioles are firing on all cylinders as both their explosive offense and recently resurgent pitching staff have won six consecutive games for the first time in two and a half years.
Due to events of this weekend, the Birds and Yankees doubleheader originally scheduled for Saturday (rescheduled already from April) were both postponed until today. The Orioles seek their seventh consecutive win tonight at 7:35.
Rookie Zach Britton tossed 7 innings and yielded only four hits to the Bronx Bombers while balancing one walk and four strike outs dueling veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon for the Birds sixth win in a row.
Although the Birds have won the last two games against the New Yorkers, they’ve struggled to win consistently year to year – and this year has been no different.
Over the last 14 seasons (since 1998), the Yankees have dominated the Orioles. Baltimore has only won 77 games, or 5.6 wins per season, and they’ve dropped 156 contests. 77-156 equates to 11.1 losses per season.
Against the Bombers, their pitching staff has surrendered 1,310 runs (5.57 runs per game), while their offense only has mustered 1,085 runs in 235 contests (4.61 runs per game). At home, the Birds have won 41 games and dropped 75, and at Yankee Stadium, they’re just 36-81.
The Orioles have won 19 of the 77 series between the American League East rivals, while the Yankees have taken 51 total series. Seven ties were recorded over the last thirteen and a half seasons. The Birds have never had a winning season against the Bombers over that stretch and have only finished the year with a .500 record vs. New York once 2007.
In nine out of the last thirteen years, the Birds have won only six games or fewer against the Bombers in a particular season (this year, they have only three wins). Three times the Orioles have collected seven wins in one seaso, and once they collected nine (2007).
The Birds have only two winning seasons against the Yankees. In ’07, the Birds won four of the six series (although they were swept once by New York) and in 2008, the Birds won three of the five series but were again swept in one series.
From 1998 through 2006, the Birds lost at least three series per season. They dropped only two series in ’07 and ’08 and have kept up the trend since then. In 2006, the Birds lost five series, which is the most series against the Yankees in the last thirteen and a half years.
The Yankees have proven to be the most problematic team in their division over this stretch. Baltimor; won 87 games against the Red Sox in 231 games (.377), 90 against the Jays in 235 games (.383) and 117 against the Rays in 234 games (.500).
This has been a tough season for the Birds, but especially against the Yankees. The Orioles are hitting only .237 collectively, which ranks them 11th out of 14 teams against the Bombers in the American League. In 12 games this season, Baltimore has crossed the plate 44 times against New York (3.67 runs per game), and scoring less than five runs per game makes it difficult to put away the Yankees.
Although they have struggled to produce wins, the Orioles have collected their hits this season with104. They’ve shown power with 12 HR.
In seven games against the Yankees this season, shortstop JJ Hardy is hitting a mere .059 with one base hit in 33 at-bats. Second baseman Robert Andino is hitting only .233 with 7 hits over his 30 at-bats.
Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, has hammered the Yankees so far hitting .340 with one HR and five RBI in 47 at-bats on the year. Against the rest of the league Guerrero is hitting bupkis. Center fielder Adam Jones is hitting a respectable .316 off of the rivals with one HR and four RBI in 10 games- which are the only two Birds’ players with averages above .300 on the year.
As for their pitching staff, they sport a very high 5.86 ERA against the rivals from up north as they’ve allowed 73 earned runs in 12 games (over six runs per game). The Bombers are hitting over .300 on the year (.306). The Orioles’ pitching staff’s ERA is higher than both the American League average ERA (5.05) and the National League’s average (5.20).
Only three Oriole pitchers sport ERAs below four against the Yanks on the year. Reliever Jim Johnson has recorded seven scoreless innings in five games, while striking out five and walking only one. Starter Jeremy Guthrie’s tossed eight innings and has surrendered only one run to the Bombers in two games on the year. In six games on the year, closer Kevin Gregg sports a 3.00 ERA against the Yankees as he’s tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs.
Reliever Brad Bergesen has really struggled against the Yanks this season as he’s tossed 11.1 innings in three games (two started), and he’s allowed 14 earned runs (11.12 ERA). Reliever Jason Berken’s season against the Bombers is even worse as he’s pitched only 6.2 innings and surrendered 13 earned runs (17.55).
So, yes, up to this point over the last thirteen and a half seasons, the Yankees have completely controlled and dominated the contests between these two bitter rivals. But, if the last two games are any indication for the rest of the year, the Birds could end up the year on a high note against New York.
On Friday night, the Orioles completely controlled the game as they jumped out on top by scoring six runs in the second inning and went on to score 12 runs; J.J Hardy, Mark Reynolds and Matt Wieters all contributed with homeruns.
Tommy Hunter tossed seven innings, yielded four earned runs on five hits, including three homeruns by the Bombers to earn his third win with the O’s.
Earlier today, Britton shut down the Yankees offense, which is a feat in itself, as he tossed seven very impressive innings - with only four base hits. This is the same guy who gave up nine runs in just 1/3 of an inning in his last outing against New York.
The Birds’ pitching has been the major difference over the last week. Baltimore starters have lasted at least 6 innings in five of those six games, and 7 or more innings in four of the last five contests.
Over the Birds last six games, the Birds’ staff is 6-0 allowing only 9 earned runs (5 of those runs came on Friday night). They gave up only one run in each game in Minnesota, and zero so far today.
Not only has the Orioles’ pitching staff shined over the last week, their offense has exploded to produce 38 runs during their win streak – which averages out to 6.33 per game (season average is 4.27 runs per game).
Their defense (which looked awful out west in Anaheim after they committed six miscues in three games) has been astounding during the streak. They haven’t committed an error since leaving the west coast.
So, although the Birds have had their problems with the Yankees over the last thirteen and a half seasons, their recent winning streak has brought out the best. The pitching staff all seems to be on the right page and playing well at the same time.
Maybe the Birds can salvage the remaining contests this season and build momentum for next season. Certainly if the Orioles are ever going to put together a winning season, they need to start winning within their own division.
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About the Author
Written by Alex Van Rees
I am 22 years old and I recently graduated from James Madison University this May with a BA degree and a major in journalism. I live in Reston, VA, about 20 minutes outside of Washington. I am looking for an entry-level position with a sports media company where I can demonstrate my writing, interviewing and technical skills to better the organization.