The Baltimore Orioles have suffered through a nightmarish first half of 2018, but seem to play better against the New York Yankees.
Baltimore has taken two of the first three games of this matchup, and the Yankees will try to gain a split of four-game series when they meet Wednesday night at Camden Yards.
In fact, the Orioles are 5-4 this season versus New York, the most wins they've posted against any team in 2018. Baltimore is 26-66 overall but recorded a come-from-behind 6-5 victory Tuesday thanks to a Jonathan Schoop walk-off single in the ninth along with two homers by Manny Machado, whose days in Baltimore could be dwindling ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline July 31.
The Yankees need wins, though, as they're battling the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East. New York has slipped 3 1/2 games behind Boston as the Red Sox are riding an eight-game winning streak.
The Yankees need a good performance from starter Sonny Gray (5-7, 5.85 ERA), who will start against Dylan Bundy (6-8, 4.08) on Wednesday.
Gray has been inconsistent all season and is trying to break a three-game losing streak. The right-hander has lost his last three starts and could not last longer than 2 1/3 innings in two of them, following up an ugly start against the Boston Red Sox with another sub-par outing Friday in Toronto.
He beat the Orioles in June with a good effort, which the Yankees would like to see again.
And Gray would also like to see it again.
"I had two bad starts; it's not a secret," Gray said in the New York Daily News. "But at the end of the day I get a chance to go out and compete tomorrow. I get a chance to go out there and try to win a baseball game, and that's what I'm going to try to do."
Gray is 4-4 with a 4.64 ERA against the Orioles in his career (with Oakland and New York).
Bundy has been the top pitcher for Baltimore throughout this difficult season. This will be his second start since coming off the 10-day disabled list after suffering a sprained ankle while running the bases against Atlanta.
The right-hander is 2-3 with a 5.34 career ERA versus New York and, despite the Orioles' troubles this season, he continues pitching well most of the time.
The big question with Baltimore remains the fate of players such as Machado, Zach Britton and others as the trade deadline approaches. It apparently has some wondering in the Oriole clubhouse, and manager Buck Showalter knows it, but there is not much that can be done until moves are eventually made as his team tries to get consecutive home wins for the first time since winning four straight May 9-12.
"I read the players," Showalter told MASN. "It certainly creates some unknown, which makes players uncomfortable. They kind of like to know what's coming. But that's part of the business."
On Tuesday, the Yankees brought back Masahiro Tanaka off the disabled list (strained hamstrings). He started and went 4 1/3 innings, coming away with a no-decision.
In addition, pitcher David Hale chose free agency instead of taking an outright assignment.
Baltimore made a flurry of pitching moves before Tuesday's game. The Orioles recalled left-hander Donnie Hart and right-hander Jhan Marinez from Triple-A Norfolk.
They also optioned right-handers Ryan Meisinger and Yefry Ramirez back to Norfolk.