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Looking ahead to Baltimore

Over the weekend, someone forgot to tell the Yankees’ bats that Spring Training was over and the regular season had begun. The team dropped two out of three to Toronto and struggled mightily with runners on-base. While losing the opening series was frustrating, it’s time for the team to turn their attention to Baltimore.

2021 Orioles

The Orioles have started the season on fire, sweeping a three game set in Boston. The team’s pitching, led by John Means, kept the Red Sox hitters off-balance while the bats produced 11-runs yesterday. With that said, this isn’t a team that many expect to be competing for a playoff spot. Fangraphs gave the Orioles the lowest chance of making the playoffs.

The Orioles’ bats are led by a returning Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander and Rookie of the Year candidate Ryan Mountcastle. Certainly not a bad lineup, but one that the Yankees should be able to beat.

The strength of the team is their farm system. After years of ignoring the international trade market, the team has finally invested in Latin America. Plus, with so many bad finishes, the team has frequently drafted near the top of the draft in the past five years.

Importance of this Series

This is a perfect opportunity for the Yankees to figure things out at the plate. Gleyber Torres has frequently tormented Baltimore and he is not alone. Last year, Aaron Hicks hit his furthest homer in Baltimore, while Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge have feasted on Oriole pitching. Getting to play the Orioles, especially back in the Bronx, is a chance the Yankees cannot afford to squander.

After the three game series, the Yankees play 15 straight against teams that made the playoffs last season. Of those games, six are against Tampa with three more against Toroto. When these games roll around, the team will be to be firing on all cylinders with the AL East set to be a dog fight this season.

The pitching matchups clearly favor the Yankees. Tonight, Jordan Montgomery makes his season debut against Jorge Lopez. Lopez, who carries a career 6.03 ERA, should be the exact medicine needed for the Yankees hitters. Meanwhile, tomorrow sees Gerrit Cole battle against rookie Dean Kremer and the series finale features Jameson Taillon against John Means. While Means dominated the Red Sox bats, the Yankees hitters have always done well against him.

Series Prediction

The Yankees are in need of a statement series and anything short of a sweep will be a disappointment. Yes, the Orioles are undefeated. But it was only three games against a bad Red Sox team. This is the perfect opportunity for Judge, Hicks, Gio and any other Yankees hitter to wake up and start their season. These are the games to build chemistry and momentum.