Orioles-Yankees Preview

New York Yankees starter Andy Pettitte says his pitches are

finally cooperating during his three-start winning streak.

That’s usually the case when he faces the Baltimore Orioles.

The veteran has won eight straight regular-season decisions

against the Orioles and hasn’t lost to them in the Bronx in over 14

years as he tries to help the Yankees complete a three-game sweep

Sunday.

Pettitte (10-9, 4.05 ERA) has owned one of the highest opponent

batting averages throughout this season, with a current mark of

.288. He’s limited hitters to a .221 average during this streak in

which he has yielded four runs – one earned – over 19 2-3 innings

after he was on course to finish with a losing record for the first

time in his 18-year career.

“The biggest thing, like I said for several months, the pitches

weren’t doing what they’re supposed to do,” Pettitte said. “They’re

cooperating right now. Hopefully they’ll cooperate the rest of the

season.”

Pettitte is 8-0 with a 2.99 ERA in his last 11 starts against

the Orioles (71-63), not including a loss in Game 2 of last year’s

division series. He’s 9-0 with a 2.44 ERA in his last 11 home

starts against them since July 5, 1999.

The left-hander’s 28 regular-season wins over the Orioles rank

him second since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. Fellow

southpaw and former Yankees great Whitey Ford is first with 30.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter may want to bench J.J. Hardy, who

is hitless in 13 at-bats and 2 for 23 overall including postseason

against Pettitte.

Showalter will give Mike Morse his Orioles debut Sunday – the

day rosters expand – after the slugger was acquired Friday from

Seattle.

“We’ve got a lot of moving parts right now and hopefully Mike

Morse will get a good night’s sleep and be ready to start his

career as an Oriole we hope,” Showalter said.

New York (72-63) moved one-half game in front of Baltimore in

the playoff race by winning 8-5 on Friday and 2-0 on Saturday.

Orioles nemesis Robinson Cano is 4 for 7 with four RBIs and

three runs scored in the series, returning in strong fashion after

missing a game when he was hit by a pitch Tuesday in Toronto. Cano

is hitting .365 with three homers and 10 RBIs in a season series

even at seven wins apiece.

It’s unclear if Alex Rodriguez will be in New York’s lineup

after he was scratched Saturday because of flulike symptoms. Former

Orioles slugger Mark Reynolds moved from first to third base and

Lyle Overbay played first.

The Yankees are 25-18 against left-handed starters as they face

the first of four straight in Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.76), who is

hoping to bounce back in September after going 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA

in five August outings.

Chen defeated Pettitte in that division series matchup last year

by yielding two runs over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-2 home victory. He’s

1-3 with a 5.10 ERA in five career regular-season outings against

the Yankees, going 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA in two on the road.

Cano is 4 for 16 overall against Chen, Derek Jeter is 5 for 16

and Curtis Granderson is 2 for 11.

Major league home run leader Chris Davis is 5 for 14 with a

homer overall against Pettitte, but 5 for 27 with one homer and 13

strikeouts in the Bronx this year.