The New York Yankees have to hope that the good version of Masahiro Tanaka shows up Wednesday in the rubber match of a three-game series at the Baltimore Orioles. Tanaka already has three starts in which he has given up at least six runs in three innings or fewer, including back-to-back outings earlier this month when he served up a total of seven home runs.
The 28-year-old rebounded with a career-high 13 strikeouts in 7 1/3 superb frames in a tough-luck loss to Oakland his last time out. Tanaka will try to follow the example set by youngster Luis Severino, who limited the Orioles to one run while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings in Tuesday’s 8-3 win. Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday both went deep twice as the Yankees handed Baltimore its eighth loss in the last nine games. The Orioles, who were without center fielder Adam Jones (ankle, hip) on Wednesday, will try to avoid losing their third straight series behind right-hander Kevin Gausman.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (5-4, 5.86 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (2-4, 6.17)
Tanaka had allowed 10 homers in his first four starts this month before keeping the ball in the park versus the Athletics on Friday. He has a 6.41 ERA and a woeful 1.73 WHIP in five road starts, which includes a visit to Baltimore on April 8 in which he gave up three runs in five innings. The Japan native has a 2.74 ERA in six career starts against the Orioles.
Gausman appears to have turned a corner after a difficult start to the year, allowing exactly two runs in three of his last four outings. One of those was a 6 2/3-inning effort at Houston on Friday, although the 26-year-old struck out just two. Gausman has been rocked for nine runs in 10 2/3 innings over two starts versus New York in 2017, but he is 6-3 with a 2.59 ERA in his career against the Bronx Bombers.
1. Gardner is batting .330 with nine home runs in May.
2. Orioles 3B Manny Machado is 0-for-13 with eight strikeouts over his last three games as his average has dropped to .210.
3. Yankees 1B Greg Bird (ankle) is scheduled to begin a rehab stint Thursday at High-A Tampa.
PREDICTION: Yankees 6, Orioles 4