(Sports Network) - For a Baltimore Orioles team presently saddled with the worst road record in the major leagues, a trip to New York's Yankee Stadium doesn't bode well for their chances of improving upon that unwanted mark.
The Yankees will attempt to continue their recent dominance of the Orioles, who'll bring a five-game losing streak into tonight's opener of a three-game series between the longtime American League East foes.
Baltimore has scored just nine runs over the course of its current slide and generated little offense in the last series, crossing the plate a mere three times in three consecutive defeats at Toronto. The Orioles have now dropped five straight and nine of their last 10 as the visitor and are a woeful 6-22 away from home on the season.
The Orioles haven't had much success at the new Yankee Stadium as well. After winning just two of nine matchups with New York in the first season of the venue last year, Dave Trembley's squad was swept in a three-game set there from May 3-5.
The Yankees have now won five straight from Baltimore following a 5-4 loss at Camden Yards on April 27 and are 18-4 in the last 22 overall encounters between the divisional rivals.
New York sports an excellent 16-7 home record thus far in 2010 and just took three of four bouts from AL Central cellar-dweller Cleveland, including an 11-2 rout in Monday's finale. The Yankees broke open a close contest with a six-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh inning, highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez finished 3-for-4 with six RBI for New York, which racked up a total of 37 runs over its four games with the Tribe. Robinson Cano followed Rodriguez' game-breaking blast with a solo homer and knocked in three runs on the afternoon, continuing his torrid hitting as of late.
Cano is currently riding a 15-game hitting streak and is batting .450 (27- for-60) with 17 RBI over the course of his tear. The standout second baseman went 10-for-17 and drove in 10 runs during the series.
Teammate Derek Jeter owns an eight-game hitting streak after going 2-for-3 in Monday's win, but the Yankee captain was forced to leave the game with a strained left hamstring in the seventh inning. It's unclear whether Jeter, who's hitting .486 (17-for-35) during his run, will be available for tonight's opener.
Andy Pettitte gave the Yankees a lift as well in yesterday's triumph, with the veteran lefty holding the Indians to one run and four hits over the first seven innings to improve his season record to 7-1.
"He pretty much just toyed with the inexperienced guys we had in the lineup," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said of Pettitte. "He's so good at changing speeds and used that cutter in on the hands. You could see he was just toying with those guys."
The Yankees would love to receive a similar performance tonight out of Javier Vazquez. The disappointing offseason acquisition has recorded a subpar 6.86 earned run average over nine appearances (eight starts) thus far in 2010, one year after going 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA with Atlanta and placing fourth in voting for the National League's Cy Young Award.
Vazquez seemed to have turned the corner after delivering six shutout innings of one-hit ball to beat the rival Mets on May 21, but was roughed up for five runs and eight hits over just 5 2/3 frames in a loss at Minnesota last Thursday.
The 34-year-old does have a history of success when facing the Orioles, however, having compiled a 6-2 record with a 4.80 ERA in 12 lifetime starts against Baltimore. He's had problems pitching at home this year, however, surrendering nine runs and 13 hits over 8 1/3 innings over his two Yankee Stadium starting assignments.
The Orioles send out a slumping hurler of their own tonight in Brian Matusz. The preseason AL Rookie of the Year candidate has lost five consecutive decisions and owns a poor 6.50 ERA over his seven most recent outings, with Baltimore suffering a defeat in each of those tests.
Matusz's slide began with back-to-back losses to the Yankees on April 29 and May 4, respectively, although he allowed only a total of four earned runs and lasted six innings in both of the meetings. He did best the Bronx Bombers in Yankee Stadium last September, yielding just one run and four hits over seven sharp innings.
The 23-year-old has been hit hard in his last two starts, including a home setback to Oakland last Wednesday in which he was tagged for six runs in five innings. Six days earlier, Matusz was battered for seven runs and eight hits by the Texas Rangers before being lifted after 2 1/3 innings.
The young left-hander hopes he can get some support from an offense that mustered only six hits off Toronto's Ricky Romero in Sunday's 6-1 setback to the Blue Jays. Leadoff hitter Corey Patterson paced the O's by going 2-for-4 and scoring the team's lone run.
Jeremy Guthrie (3-5) started for Baltimore and worked six innings, permitting four runs on seven hits to take the loss.