The O’s – fresh off their series sweep of the Red Sox at home – take their first trip of the season to Yankee Stadium. The Birds started May with the worst record in the majors, but have won 5 of their last 7 games and seem to be playing better. Jeremy Guthrie will try to keep things rolling in the positive direction, in a re-match from last week against CC Sabathia.
Robbie Cano might be making a run at a batting title this year, and the Yankees are hitting .278/.367/.463 as a team. Only Markakis and Wigginton (plus Pie) even have a .367 OBP for the Orioles.
Sabathia’s strike-out rate has fallen for a third year in a row, thus far, and his walks are up for a fourth straight season. The extra groundballs he’s getting are helping him remain at an elite level.
The increase in groundball rate likely corresponds to CC throwing more two-seamers and fewer four-seamers this year. He’s lost some velocity on the fastball, but it’s still a very good pitch. The slider and change-up are like-wise very hard to put the bat on. There’s a reason Sabathia is a Cy Young contender every year, and the Orioles’ batters need to walk a fine line between helping CC by expanding the zone and not letting a hittable pitch – perhaps the only one they’ll get – go by. They managed 11 hits against him in his last start, but could only get 3 runs across the plate. Can’t let him off the hook like that and expect to win.
Cano’s 1.5 WAR is the same as the O’s total combined line-up in this one.
I looked at some of the changes it looks like Jeremy has made this season recently. He’s pitched better than his ERA so far, though some regression of that nifty FIP is expected.