Baltimore Orioles: Previewing the Yankees Series with YGY Radio


Last night, I had the pleasure of joining Ricky Keeler of the Yanks Go Yard Radio Show to preview the Baltimore Orioles upcoming series against the rivaled New York Yankees. Yanks Go Yard is the FanSided Network’s home for Yankees coverage.

It’s not often that you hear a civil conversation between a Yankees and Orioles fan, but one of the great things about the FanSided Network is our commitment to working together to make it grow, regardless of the team you are loyal to.

We touched on several topics in the approximately 45 minutes on the air together. Here is a short recap of some of the major points of our discussion:

J.J. Hardy injury

Ricky was quick to bring up Hardy’s success against the Yankees, but the veteran shortstop will miss the series with a shoulder injury. Hardy was able to get some practice swings in over the weekend, but like I explained to Ricky, it isn’t an encouraging sign that he told that something as simple as taking off a jacket is still painful. The injury is to Hardy’s non-throwing shoulder, and it’s hard to imagine him being able to contribute with his bat if he isn’t pain free removing clothing. Everth Cabrera has filled in nicely with Hardy on the shelf, and will likely continue to get most of the starts at short until Hardy recovers. When that will be remains to be seen.

Manny Machado

I was asked about which player the Orioles need to step up most, and to me, it’s the player that Dan Duquette and company put a lot of their faith in this offseason. Machado has started the season with an abysmal .053 batting average, but fans should not be concerned because he has hit the ball hard. He got his first hit of the season yesterday, and the cliche is that the first one is always the hardest to get. He’s certainly done his part in the infield, including a ridiculous barehanded play on Saturday night. It’s only a matter of time that the hits start coming, and his batting average boosts to somewhere around the .300 mark.

Orioles bullpen

Baltimore is blessed with a surplus of pitching at the moment, and the trade of Ryan Webb to the Dodgers was necessary after the decision to designate him for assignment. The Orioles have been rumored to be looking for a trade partner for Brian Matusz also, but I cannot see a scenario in which the Orioles actually make that move. Matusz is valuable as a lefty out of the bullpen, and I argued that Matusz could be even more cherished if Wei-Yin Chen will go elsewhere after this season. The Orioles have one of the best duos in baseball to close out games in Darren O’Day and Zach Britton. O’Day gave up home run to Jose Bautista on Sunday, but fans shouldn’t be concerned. Meanwhile, Britton has been lights out to start the season.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Biggest takeaway from the opening week

Some will say Travis Snider and Alejandro De Aza were the biggest surprises from the first week of the season, but Ubaldo Jimenez got my attention the most. He looked sharp in his final few starts of the spring and that carried over in his first start on Saturday. My colleague Randy Buchman wrote a fantastic piece on Jimenez’s outing and what to expect going forward. If Ubaldo can continuously pitch like he did on Saturday, a good rotation is even better, and the contract Jimenez collects doesn’t look as humiliating.

Yankees vs. Orioles prediction

We agreed that the Orioles should win the series, with Baltimore winning the first and final games of the three-game set. The Yankees had some long games over the weekend, including last night’s contest on Sunday Night Baseball and a 19-inning game against the Boston Red Sox. Tonight is the first game of a 10-game road trip for the Bronx Bombers. The Orioles are coming off a disappointing weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays, and should take advantage of the Yankees lackluster lineup. If Buck Showalter’s crew does not leave Baltimore with a winning record, the team and the fans will be concerned. I don’t expect that to be the case, and am expecting Bud Norris to have a much better outing in his next start on Wednesday.

It was an honor to join Ricky on the show, and I hope to speak to him again later on in the season. There was plenty more that we discussed in our time on-air together. If you’re interested in listening to the entire show, the link can be found here:

Next: Orioles Future Salary Obligations

More from The Baltimore Wire