Yankees stand on doorstep of sweeping Orioles
Entering the series, the Yankees and Orioles had split their 12 meetings this season. However, New York won three straight against Baltimore this weekend, including both games of a Saturday doubleheader.
The Yankees (82-47) are a season-high 35 games above .500. Meanwhile, Baltimore (37-93) is jockeying with Kansas City for the top pick in the MLB Draft.
“We’re just trying to do what we do best and score runs,” Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks said.
The Yankees are also getting a spark from rookie Miguel Andujar, who homered and had four RBIs in the first game Saturday. He is batting .300 and making a strong case for Rookie of the Year, not that he is thinking about personal accolades.
“There are more important things right now,” Andujar said through an interpreter. “It’s very important to win games and we have a bigger goal in mind. That’s the focus right now. At the end of it all, if it happens, it happens. We are trying accomplish something bigger here than individual awards.”
The Orioles, who have lost seven straight games, have traded key veterans as they begin a complete rebuild of their franchise. They’re already experiencing growing pains and have endured seven losing streaks of six games or more this season.
Right-hander Luis Severino (16-6, 3.28 ERA) will start Sunday for the Yankees. After a dominant first half of the season, he is 2-4 in his last six starts, allowing seven home runs during that stretch.
Severino was much better in his last outing against the Blue Jays when he allowed two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts in five innings.
“I feel pretty good. Most of the game I was dominating,” Severino said after the game. “I feel good, my body is strong and my confidence is way up.”
Severino is 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) against Baltimore. New York is going to need him to maintain his former solid form during the stretch run.
The Yankees still trail the Red Sox in the American League East but are in the driver’s seat for one of the two wild-card berths.
“We have to find the right adjustments in there to get him back on track,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Severino’s recent struggles.
Dylan Bundy (7-12, 5.31) is having similar struggles for Baltimore. He has allowed 29 hits and six homers for 22 runs (21 earned) in 14 1/3 innings in his last three starts.
Bundy has also struggled to keep the ball in the park, giving up 15 homers in his last eight starts, registering a whopping 9.08 ERA during that stretch.
Bundy allowed seven runs and seven hits in just four innings of his last start against the Blue Jays, losing his third straight decision.
“It’s tough, but we’re all going to have these stretches,” Bundy said after the game. “You just try to limit them. Right now, this one is going on for quite some time. Hopefully, in the future I can figure this out quicker and get better faster.”
Bundy is 2-4 with a 6.03 ERA in eight appearances, including six starts, against the Yankees. He took a loss to New York on July 11.
Showalter is also trying to find ways to get him back on track.
“We’ve given him extra days quite a few times,” Showalter said. “We’ve attacked that and we’ll continue to look at if we need to do it again.”