American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, April 9th
(All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (0-3) at Baltimore Orioles (3-0), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00)
Baltimore - Brian Matusz (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees try to avoid opening a season with
four straight losses for only the third time in franchise history this evening
when they begin a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden
After watching Mariano Rivera blow their opener and Hiroki Kuroda get banged
around in a game two loss, the Yankees managed just three hits in a 3-0
setback to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher all doubled in the loss for the
Yankees, who saw starter Phil Hughes (0-1) yield two runs on five hits and two
walks over 4 2/3 innings.
"I felt like I had good stuff," remarked Hughes. "It was just a lot of long,
drawn out at-bats that kind of killed my pitch count today. They threw really
well on the other side of the ball too so it was a tough game for everybody."
New York hasn't started a season with three straight losses since 1998 when
it ended the year with 114 regular season wins and a World Series title.
However, another loss tonight would make them 0-4 for the first time since
1973. The only other time the team lost four in a row to start a season was
Trying to get off the schneid tonight New York will turn to righty Ivan Nova,
who was 16-4 last season with a 3.70 earned run average. In four starts
against the Orioles, he is 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA.
Nova, though, almost pitched himself out of the Yankees' rotation this spring,
as he pitched to an 8.06 ERA in 22 1/3 innings.
"You can worry about it a little bit, but you can get fooled by Spring
Training, too," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I'll try to evaluate him a
little more after [Monday] and see where he's really at. And even that first
start you try not to get too wrapped up in, because there are a lot of
emotions that take place."
Baltimore, meanwhile, is flying high and is off to a 3-0 start for the second
year in a row. The Orioles completed their season-opening three-game sweep
over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, as Jason Hammel continued the team's trend
of excellent starting pitching to begin the 2012 season, taking a no-hit bid
into eighth inning on Sunday en route to a 3-1 win.
Hammel (1-0) went eight solid innings, allowing one run on two hits while
fanning five and walking three. Tommy Hunter gave up two earned runs in seven-
plus innings on Saturday for the O's, and Jake Arrieta went seven shutout
innings on Opening Day.
Hammel said he knew he had a no-hitter going.
"Once I got through the sixth, obviously I'm not scoreboard watching, but
after a while you kind of realize, 'man, we're moving along here pretty
quick.' I had been getting a lot of ground balls and my pitch count was down
so I took a look. I pretty much knew it for the whole game, but the sixth
inning it really set in."
Jim Johnson worked a perfect ninth for his second save of the season.
J.J. Hardy cracked a solo homer and Wilson Betemit added a two-run double for
Baltimore, which won six of seven to start the year last season before losing
eight in a row en route to the club's 14th consecutive losing season.
Hoping to continue that tremendous string of starting pitching tonight will be
left-hander Brian Matusz, who will be trying to shake off a disappointing
2011. After a tremendous 2010, Matusz struggled badly a year ago, going just
1-9, while pitching to a 10.69 ERA - a single-season high for pitchers with at
least 10 starts.
"It's definitely a special start," Matusz said. "It's been a long road this
offseason. This spring, to be able to fight back to being able to make the
team and then do that, pitching the way I know how to pitch -- I'm excited to
go out there and just pitch the game I love to play and just get back out
Matusz was particularly bad against the Yanks, who ripped him for 11 runs in
only 6 2/3 innings.
"All the teams are going to be good," Matusz said. "It doesn't matter if it's
the Yankees, Red Sox, anybody. It's a big league lineup. I've prepared really
hard this spring, this offseason, so I'm excited to face the Yankees right out
of the gate."
The Yankees have posted a 13-5 record against the Orioles in each of the past
04/09 10:39:44 ET