|Yankees and Orioles in for what could be a fight to the finish|
If the Yankees get swept by the Orioles, both teams will be tied atop the division. Things could get even more interesting if the Yankees win and the Rays manage to do the same to creep closer behind the Orioles for second place. The Yankees will take on the Rays next week at Yankee Stadium, so the stage will be set if it will be another battle between first and second place.
New York will send its best pitcher to the mound for the first game, just as if it was a playoff series. Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill and he is a much better pitcher than the last time he faced Baltimore at the end of April. The run support has to be there for Kuroda early, since the Orioles bullpen has managed to pitch to a 3.03 ERA.
Both Orioles starters, Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen, have wins against the Yankees and have put up solid numbers in their last few starts. Combined they are 4-1 with a 3.51 ERA in six starts. The ball should not be given to Luis Ayala from the bullpen, since he is showing that his great second-half with the Yankees in 2011 was not a fluke.
Before the series even begins, Nick Swisher talked to the media about the pressure and the importance of these next few games. Similarly, Showalter addressed the Orioles' upcoming schedule and said the team was going to have fun. Two different approaches to what could end up being an exciting race to the finish.