The New York Yankees will look to stop the bleeding tonight against the Baltimore Orioles, as they need a win to avoid falling completely out of first place for the first time in three months.
The story of the Yankees' skid has been heard all around baseball: New York, seemingly comfortably in first place, has lost 11 out of 16 while Baltimore has won ten out of 12, putting the two tied atop the AL East at 77-60. The Yankees desperately need to forget about the circumstances that got them to this situation -- including Thursday night, when the Orioles jacked three homers the eighth inning in front of an electric Camden Yards after blowing a five-run lead -- and worry about winning. What's ahead is a 25-game fistfight for first, and whoever gets the best out of the remaining three games in this set will leave Baltimore with an advantage.
Both teams see a pitcher they'll be happy to have on the mound. Phil Hughes gave up two homers to Mark Reynolds in his last start, a five-inning, five-earned run loss to Baltimore, and Wei-Yin Chen took the loss in New York's only win against Baltimore last week at the stadium. Reynolds repeated the two-homer feat last night with another two shots, Hughes will hope for better luck in the team's biggest game of the season.
The Yankees finally got some runs when they needed them last night, scoring five in the eighth to tie the game thanks to wild pitching by Pedro Strop, but their pitching couldn't come through, giving up six home runs including three in the decisive eighth. They'll need to actually play a complete game Friday night to avoid falling into second place.
Orioles lead the series 1-0
WP: Darren O`Day (7 - 1)
LP: David Robertson (1 - 6)
|6 - 10 loss|
|Sat 09/08||7:05 PM EDT|
|Sun 09/09||1:35 PM EDT|
And now, a look at the AL East standings: