Yankees take momentum into Baltimore
BALTIMORE -- The New York Yankees are coming to Baltimore to start a four-game series Thursday night after a strong performance against the World Series champion Houston Astros.
New York took two of three from Houston, including a 5-3 victory in the series finale Wednesday.
The Yankees scored 11 runs in the last two games of the series and won Tuesday night despite making five errors.
In Wednesday's game, struggling Giancarlo Stanton went 1-for-2 and told the New York Post that he's not going to make any monster changes in his swing.
He is hitting .248 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs but hasn't yet found the right kind of consistency.
"It's too much of an adjustment to make in the middle of a season," Stanton told the paper. "To reverse everything now wouldn't be good. Not with all the other news things around and new surroundings."
Sonny Gray (3-4, 5.98 ERA) will start for the Yankees against Baltimore's Andrew Cashner (2-6, 5.07 ERA) in Thursday's series opener.
Gray is 2-3 in his last five starts and inconsistent at times during the first part of 2018. During his career, the right-hander has a 3-4 record against the Orioles with a 5.15 ERA.
New York (35-17) comes into the series two games behind Boston in the American League East battle for first place.
Cashner also has been up and down this year, his first since Baltimore signed him in the offseason. He is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in his career versus New York.
His biggest problem so far has been the home runs, having allowed 11 in his first 11 starts. The ball does fly out of Camden Yards when the weather gets warm, so that's an issue Cashner will have to deal with but now, the Orioles need as much good pitching as they can get.
The reason for that is their offense just is not getting the job done. That's a big reason the team has now dropped five straight games.
Baltimore has scored six runs during the slide and the lineup was hurt again Wednesday with Danny Valencia leaving for a few days to go on paternity leave.
One of the biggest things that could help the Orioles would be the return of closer Zach Britton. He's missed the whole season after tearing his Achilles tendon in the offseason and then having surgery.
Britton made his first rehab appearance Wednesday, pitching in Class A ball and doing well and moving closer to a return.
"It was a lot further ahead than it would normally be traditionally in spring, for the first outing," he told The Baltimore Sun. "This was more like a back-end-of-spring game where you're pretty close to starting the season."
The Orioles will be facing a number of questions regarding players such as Britton, Manny Machado, Adam Jones and others in the weeks ahead as the trade deadline draws closer -- who to keep and who to let go.
The team had said Memorial Day would be the point where they wouldn't even think about making moves until. But now the team is past that, with a record of 17-39, and slowly going downhill.
Updated May 30, 2018