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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 Yards.

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 1930.

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 there again."

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 three seasons.

04/09 10:39:44 ET

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