Originally written on Bronx Pinstripes  |  Last updated 3/25/13
Markakis hit .450 against the Yankees in 2012. Threat Level: 8 In 2012, the Orioles were 29-9 in 1-run games and 16-2 in extra inning games (where they won their last 16 in a row). Both of those numbers are major league records. To say they cannot do that again would be stating the obvious, but saying they cannot be competitive again would be wrong. The Orioles’ offense still has talent and the addition of young star Manny Machado to the lineup will be very helpful. Jim Johnson was a revelation last year and he has the stuff to be a good closer again. However, this team’s success is going to come down to how well their starters pitch. They do not have a bona-fide #1 pitcher, but they have good, young talent. If that talent progresses, like Tillman, Arrieta, and Matusz, then they will not have to rely on Hammel and Chen to be as great as they were last year. Lastly, Buck Showalter is the great equalizer. There is no doubt in my mind that he made a huge difference in the how well the O’s played in one-run games. He simply knows how to manage a baseball team. This team is as threatening as any to the Yankees in the AL East.   Projected Lineup 1. Brian Roberts 2B 2. Nick Markakis RF 3. Adam Jones CF 4. Matt Wieters C 5. Chris Davis 1B 6. J.J. Hardy SS 7. Nate McLouth LF 8. Manny Machado 3B 9. Wilson Betemit DH   Projected Starting Rotation 1. Jason Hammel RHP 2. Wei-Yin Chen LHP 3. Chris Tillman RHP 4. Miguel Gonzalez RHP 5. Jake Arrieta RHP   Closer Jim Johnson RHP   Yankee Killer: Nick Markakis In 124 games against the Yankees, Markakis has batted .303 with 15 home runs. His numbers are even better in the new Yankee Stadium, where in 36 games over the last four seasons, he has batted .338 with 7 homers and 23 RBI’s. In 2012, Markakis proved especially tough to get out in Yankee Stadium. He batted .450 with 2 homers and 8 RBI’s in 9 games.   Oriole Killer: Robinson Cano Cano has feasted against O’s pitching in his career. He has a .338 career batting average against the Orioles with 24 home runs and 89 RBI’s in 135 games. Remarkably, he has even better numbers than that in Camden Yards. He is batting a phenomenal .364 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI’s in 66 games in Baltimore. Expect more big numbers from Cano in Baltimore this season as well.   When They Play The Yankees: IN NY: 4/12-4/14, 7/5-7/7, 8/30-9/1. IN BAL: 5/20-5/22, 6/28-6/30, 9/9-9/12.
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