NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 01: David Phelps #41 of the New York Yankees delivers against the Baltimore Orioles during a game at Yankee Stadium on September 1, 2012 in the Bronx Borough of New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
The Yankees head down to Baltimore with hopes of fending off a serious run at the AL East title by the Orioles, with New York just a game ahead in the standings.
The importance of the four-game set is lost on nobody: New York led the division for 84 consecutive days, but a 4-10 stretch by the Yankees combined with a 9-2 run by the Orioles had Baltimore tied for the division lead after Wednesday night's action. It was the Orioles' first time claiming a share of the division lead in September since 1997, while the Yankees have won the division 11 times in that stretch.
Baltimore, which normally turns into Yankee Stadium South for the September series between the clubs, will have a spirited crowd on hand to witness the team's most important series in over a decade.
Taking the mound for New York is David Phelps, who has only had one poor outing since entering the rotation. He allowed three runs in the Yankees' lone win in this past weekend's series against Baltimore, but left with the Yankees losing. Facing him will be Jason Hammel, who returns from a nearly two-month stint on the DL after getting arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Hammel has a 3.54 ERA on the year, but took losses in his last four starts before hitting the disabled list, and hasn't been a part of the Orioles' recent success. But what happens on the mound is less important than the Yankees reviving slumping bats: New York has only mustered more than five runs three times in its last 15 games, including Wednesday's 6-4 win.
4 game series vs Orioles @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards
|Fri 09/07||7:05 PM EDT|
|Sat 09/08||7:05 PM EDT|
|Sun 09/09||1:35 PM EDT|
And here's a look at the AL East standings:
AL East Standings