Orioles-Yankees Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 29, 2012
Jason Hammel seems to have rejuvenated his career since being traded to the Baltimore Orioles during the offseason, but rough outings against the New York Yankees are a part of his not-so-stellar past. The Orioles had problems with the Yankees long before Hammel arrived. The right-hander looks to continue his stellar start when he takes the mound against New York in the opener of a three-game series Monday night at Yankee Stadium. Hammel (3-0, 1.73 ERA) was acquired in a February trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, and he's shined after going 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA in 2011. He allowed four hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 3-0 win over Toronto on Wednesday. He has 17 strikeouts over his last 13 innings, and opponents are hitting .194 against him. Hammel said his resurgence is all about having confidence in himself. "For a long time, it took me a while to build confidence," Hammel told the team's official website. "I got hit around a bit. Only when I started to care about being a pitcher did my confidence go up. "Obviously, the results are showing it." Hammel, though, is 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA in 11 appearances against the Yankees - including a 6.57 ERA in five starts - but he hasn't faced them since 2008. The Orioles are 12-40 against New York since May 2009, and were swept in a three-game series at Camden Yards from April 9-11. Baltimore (14-8), though, has gotten off to a surprising start and has won six of seven after beating Oakland 5-2 on Sunday. Wilson Betemit delivered a three-run walkoff homer after Matt Wieters hit a game-tying two-run double to overcome a 2-0 deficit. The Orioles improved to 5-6 when trailing after seven innings after going 5-83 when behind after the seventh last season. The win was the 999th of manager Buck Showalter's career and moved Baltimore six games over .500 for the first time since time since July 20, 2005. ''We got a team where everybody pulls together,'' Betemit said. "Everybody knows how to play, knows how to win, and that's what we do.'' The Yankees (12-9) rebounded from Saturday's 7-5 loss to Detroit with a 6-2 victory Sunday, getting a two-run homer from Curtis Granderson. Alex Rodriguez drove in two runs to give him 1,904 RBIs in his career, moving him past Willie Mays into ninth place all-time. Right fielder Nick Swisher won't be in the lineup for a few days after he left Sunday's game in the third inning with a mild strain in his left hamstring. Hiroki Kuroda (1-3, 4.38) will oppose Hammel as the Yankees seek their fourth win in their last five home games. Kuroda pitched eight innings of a 5-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on April 13, but he's lost his last two starts. The right-hander allowed six runs in 4 1-3 innings against Minnesota on April 18, then gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 loss to Texas on Tuesday. Kuroda, who spent his first four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has never faced the Orioles, but he's familiar with former Arizona Diamondback Mark Reynolds, who is 4 for 21 with nine strikeouts lifetime against the Yankees' starter. Manager Joe Girardi also announced Freddy Garcia, who is 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA in four starts, will be moved to the bullpen. "I'm not surprised,'' Garcia said. ''You play here in New York, they expect to pitch good. ... It's not like they wait for you to be good.''
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