Yankees-Orioles Preview

Seemingly, only the weather can slow Alex Rodriguez and the New
York Yankees’ dominance of the Baltimore Orioles.

There’s a chance that could be the case again Sunday when
Rodriguez and the Yankees try to sweep a rain-shortened two-game
series with the Orioles at Camden Yards on Sunday.

New York (11-6) has won 16 of the last 20 meetings with
Baltimore (8-11), including seven of nine on the road. The Yankees
won 15-3 on Saturday after Friday’s scheduled series opener was
postponed due to rain.

The Yankees and Orioles have been rained out twice in 2011, and
Sunday’s forecast indicates more precipitation is possible.

New York has won the three matchups that have been played by a
28-12 margin, batting .336 with eight homers.

Rodriguez has played a major role in that, going 7 for 11 with
three doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs in the season series. He
drove in a season-high six runs Saturday and hit his 22nd career
grand slam to move within one of Lou Gehrig for most all-time.

The third baseman, who has gone 16 for 32 with five home runs
and 16 RBIs in his last 11 games versus Baltimore, also moved past
Carl Yastrzemski and into 12th on the career RBI list with
1,847.

“It’s definitely exciting. I appreciate the moment,” Rodriguez
said. “I think I’ve grown and matured to a level now where I can
appreciate it some and not just brush it off like I did in the
past.

“Without question, I’m going to appreciate (the accomplishments)
a lot more once I’m done playing. But overall, I played with a lot
of great players. Numbers like RBIs and wins and championships, you
need 25 guys, 24 other guys helping you.”

One of them has been Robinson Cano, who went 3 for 5 on Saturday
and is batting .360 with three homers and 12 RBIs during a 12-game
hitting streak. Cano, who has recorded at least a hit in all but
two games this season, has batted .459 with two home runs and 13
RBIs during a 15-game hit streak against the Orioles. He has hit
.559 with six homers and 13 RBIs over a 14-game hitting streak at
Camden Yards.

The Yankees connected for five homers Saturday, increasing their
season total to a major league-leading 35.

Freddy Garcia (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will take the mound for New York
on Sunday.

The veteran right-hander was terrific in his debut as the
Yankees’ fifth starter, yielding two hits in six scoreless innings
of a 5-2 win over Texas on April 16.

“You know, I love Freddy,” Rodriguez told the Yankees’ official
website of Garcia, who was also his teammate in Seattle from
1999-2000. “He’s a lot like David Cone, and it’s funny he wears his
number (36). He finds a way to win, and he’s very smart. He
understands what the hitters are looking for. He knows how to run
away from the barrel.”

Garcia is 1-5 with a 5.20 ERA in his last seven starts against
the Orioles, but hasn’t faced them since 2006.

Baltimore has dropped 10 of 13, compiling a 6.45 ERA in that
stretch.

Jake Arrieta (2-1, 5.06) might be able to fare better than that,
as he has gone 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA in three career starts versus
the Yankees. He was solid in his most recent outing against them
April 14, allowing three runs through six innings of a 6-5,
10-inning loss in the Bronx.

The right-hander gave up four hits in six innings of an 11-0 win
over Minnesota on Tuesday.