The New York Yankees were hoping to gain ground on the AL East leaders in this road series against the Baltimore Orioles but now the best they can do is leave town without losing any.
The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound Wednesday night to try to gain a two-game split in this rain-shortened series.
New York (61-57) fell a season-high seven games behind Baltimore (68-50) with Monday’s 11-3 loss. Tuesday’s contest was postponed due to rain so all the Yankees can do is split.
Pineda (2-2, 1.83 ERA) will pitch for the first time since April 23, when he was ejected against Boston. He received a 10-game suspension for ”possessing a foreign substance on his person.”
The right-hander was on the disabled list since May 6 with a right shoulder muscle injury, and returns after making two rehabilitation starts for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre.
Pineda declared himself healthy and expressed an eagerness to put the suspension behind him.
”I know I made a mistake, so I learned from that,” he said. ”Everything is in the past right now. I want to continue my career. I’m focused on my game and I’m focused on pitching. I said sorry to my team, sorry to everybody.”
This will be his first 2014 look at the Orioles. He posted a 2.77 ERA in two starts against them in 2011 with Seattle, failing to get a decision both times.
Baltimore will likely play without third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Machado suffered a right knee ligament strain Monday, and it’s not clear if he will be headed to the disabled list. Hardy, who has 11 hits in his last 23 at-bats, has missed two straight games with a sprained left thumb.
This series being shortened could work to the advantage of the Orioles if both miss Wednesday’s contest but return for a makeup game at a later date.
"When they say play, we play," manager Buck Showalter told MLB’s official website, "whether it’s with J.J. or without, or with Manny or without. It’s not a given they’re going to be with you in September. Be careful about outsmarting yourself. I am going to try not to."
Chris Davis replaced Machado on Monday and went 2 for 3 with his 21st homer and fourth in seven games.
Baltimore has a major league-best 150 homers while New York has surrendered an AL-high 126. The Orioles have outscored the Yankees 55-28 while winning seven of 10 meetings, homering three times Monday.
"It’s tough," manager Joe Girardi said. "We know they swing the bats extremely well. They’ve got a lot of power in their lineup."
The Yankees, who remain without catcher Brian McCann due to a concussion, have totaled four runs and 15 hits during a three-game slide.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman (9-5, 3.73) is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in two starts against New York this year. He’s had trouble over the years pitching to Derek Jeter, who is 8 for 20 against him, and Mark Teixeira, who is 5 for 15.
The right-hander seeks his first three-start win streak of the year. Curiously, he’s 3-5 with a 2.77 ERA at home compared to 6-0 with a 4.68 ERA on the road.
Baltimore’s Nick Markakis is batting .432 (19 for 44) in 11 games this month, and is among the major league leaders with 45 multihit games this season.