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News » Yankees-Orioles Preview 2009-04-09

Yankees-Orioles Preview 2009-04-09

Yankees-Orioles Preview 2009-04-09
There's little doubt the New York Yankees will see improvement from their starting pitching this season. The first two games just haven't shown any evidence of that.

After CC Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang pitched poorly in their first starts, A. J. Burnett hopes for better results as he makes his Yankees debut Thursday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles, who seek their first 3-0 start in 12 years.

With their string of 13 straight playoff appearances ending last season, the high-payroll Yankees (0-2) aggressively spent money again in the offseason, committing $423.5 million to free-agent additions Sabathia, Burnett and first baseman Mark Teixeira.

Sabathia was given the opening-day assignment Monday and was unable to get out of the fifth inning before allowing six runs, eight hits and five walks in a 10-5 loss.

Wang was even worse Wednesday night in his first appearance since June, getting roughed up for seven runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings as the Orioles (2-0) rode a five-run fourth to a 7-5 victory.

"He never got his sinker going," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Wang. "When he doesn't have a sinker, he's going to struggle and that's what happened."

Now, it's Burnett's turn to prove he is capable of building off an outstanding 2008 that saw him go 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA in 35 games for Toronto. He set career highs in wins, strikeouts (231) and innings pitched (221 1-3).

The right-hander, signed to a $82.5 million, five-year contract, won 10 of his last 12 decisions and most importantly, avoided his 11th career trip to the disabled list.

"Of course, money had something to do with it," Burnett said. "How often do you get the chance to put on pinstripes? I mean, whether you want to admit that you love them or hate them, everybody wants to be a Yankee."

Burnett struggled in three starts last season against the Orioles, going 2-1 with a 9.82 ERA. He has won seven of eight career decisions versus Baltimore despite a 4.97 ERA.

Nick Markakis fell a triple short of the cycle and had three RBIs Wednesday for Baltimore, which seeks its first three-game sweep of New York since April 15-17, 2005, at Camden Yards. The Orioles haven't started a season with three straight wins since opening 4-0 in 1997.

Markakis is 5-for-7 with a home run and five RBIs in this season's first two games. He is batting .431 (25-for-58) in his last 14 home contests against the Yankees.

New York hasn't been 0-3 since 1998, the year it won 114 games en route to the first of three straight World Series championships.

"I don't see any panic here," left fielder Johnny Damon said. "But right now, I don't think anybody expected us to be in this situation."

A strong spring earned Alfredo Simon (0-0, 6.23 in 2008) a spot in Baltimore's rotation. The right-hander made four appearances for the Orioles last season after his contract was purchased from the minors on Sept. 5. His best outing came in his only start on Sept. 23, when he limited Tampa Bay to three runs and seven hits over 7 2-3 innings before Baltimore's bullpen faltered in a 7-5 loss.

Simon compiled a 2.61 ERA in five spring games, including three starts. He has never faced the Yankees.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 9, 2009

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