- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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Camden Depot previews the Orioles-Yankees series here. Meanwhile, here's a quick roster breakdown.
RHP -- Jason Hammel, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Tommy Hunter, Luis Ayala, Darren O'Day, Pedro Strop, Jim Johnson
LHP -- Wei-Yin Chen, Joe Saunders, Brian Matusz, Troy Patton
C -- Matt Wieters, Taylor Teagarden
IF -- Mark Reynolds, Robert Andino, Ryan Flaherty, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado
OF -- Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Nate McLouth, Endy Chavez, Lew Ford
DH -- Jim Thome
The Orioles will carry 12 pitches and this is the one team where it makes sense to do so. They rely on their bullpen, so the more options Buck Showalter has at his disposal, the better. Plus, they have a weak bench anyway.
The rotation will go Hammel, Chen and Gonzalez the first three games. If the series goes longer, I would expect you'd see Saunders in Game 4 after his outing against the Rangers, so that pushes Tillman into a long relief role.
Matusz, despite his struggles as a starter, has looked tough as a LOOGY, so Showalter won't hesitate to use him against Robinson Cano or Curtis Granderson. O'Day is a sidearmer from the right side but he held lefties to a .207 average with a 20/3 strikeout/walk ratio, so he's a guy who can pitch to multiple batters. Based on usage against the Rangers, it appears O'Day has leapfrogged Strop as the top set-up guy after Strop's shaky final month (10 walks, nine strikeouts).
Offensively, the Orioles will platoon Andino (versus LHPs) and Flaherty at second base. Chavez will pinch-run and replace Davis defensively in right field. Lew Ford ... well, maybe he's a good luck charm.
New York Yankees
RHP -- Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, David Phelps, Derek Lowe, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano
LHP -- CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada
C -- Russell Martin, Chris Stewart
IF -- Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez, Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix
OF -- Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Brett Gardner
The Yankees elected to go with 11 pitchers and if any manager will find a way to use all of them, it will be Joe Girardi. Phelps and Lowe give Girardi two long men while Logan and Rapada will be the lefty specialists to match up primarily with Davis and Thome. The Orioles don't have much on the bench so Girardi should be able to get the platoon matchups late in the game.
One guy to watch is setup man Robertson, who pitched in 18 games in September/October. He wasn't quite as dominant, allowing seven runs and 17 hits in 15.1 innings, although a 21/2 strikeout/walk ratio perhaps suggests the concerns that he's been overworked are a little overstated. Soriano also struggled a bit down the stretch, giving up runs in three of his final four appearances and allowing four home runs the final month.
On offense, Andruw Jones was left off the roster after slumping in the second half, with Eduardo Nunez assuming the DH duties against left-handed starters. That required the placement of Nix on the roster as another backup infielder. Gardner provides the perfect pinch-running option: Not just a guy who can run but a guy who can steal a base. Girardi has some options off the bench -- Ibanez when he isn't the DH, Chavez -- but isn't likely to hit for anyone other than Martin or Nunez to get Ibanez up against a right-hander.