NEW YORK — The first week of the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season could not have gone much worse for the Baltimore Orioles. The Birds currently hold a 1-5 record with the worst run differential in baseball (-20). Their starting pitching ERA is 6.00 (27’th in MLB), and their team batting average is .185 (28’th in MLB). It’s hard to even find something good to say about the one win the O’s do have, because it took them 11 innings to accomplish with just five hits.

The Orioles’ April slate of games would be a challenge for any team. However, the only starting pitcher to last more than five innings so far is Dylan Bundy. In addition, Baltimore has averaged just above six hits-per-game through the first six contests. That’s not nearly good enough to compete with the powerhouses of the American Leaue.

Perhaps the most frustrating part about the Orioles’ struggles so far is that they cannot get both the pitching and the hitting on the same page. On Tuesday, the bats finally got going, producing eight hits and six runs. Mike Wright Jr. surprisingly held the Houston lineup in check, giving up three earned runs in five frames. However, the bullpen imploded, highlighted by Nestor Cortes Jr. giving up a grand slam to Josh Reddick in the seventh inning. Then on Wednesday afternoon, Bundy threw six innings of one-run ball, but the Orioles could only produce two runs, and Miguel Castro fell victim to an Alex Bregman single that ended up being the difference in Baltimore’s 3-2 loss.

As if getting swept by the defending world champions wasn’t depleting enough, The Birds now head to the Bronx to battle the 2017 American League East runner-ups, the New York Yankees. The Yanks, currently 4-2, hold the second-best run differential (+14) in the American League. The O’s went 2-8 at Yankee Stadium in 2017, and will now face a lineup that includes four-time All-Star Giancarlo Stanton.

Winter weather expected: The Yankees’ were forced to cancel their original Monday home opener due to snow, and more snow is on the way to the Bronx this weekend. As of this writing, Friday’s forecast shows a 60% chance of rain/snow showers, with a 50% chance of rain in the evening. Saturday’s original forecast projected 3-5 inches of snow, but has since been reduced to a 10% chance of precipitation.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, Apr. 5, 6:35 pm – Andrew Cashner (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 1.50 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Friday, Apr. 6, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (0-0, 1.80 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Saturday, Apr. 7, 1:05 pm – Chris Tillman (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (0-0- 2.25 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Sunday, Apr. 8, 1:05 pm – Mike Wright Jr. (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 1.80 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Recently acquired starting pitcher Alex Cobb threw a simulated game in Sarasota on Wednesday. He threw 74 pitches, allowing one run on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts. According to reports, Cobb could make his Orioles debut as soon as Monday.
  • In 35 career road games against AL East opponents, Trey Mancini owns a .331 average in 127 at-bats.
  • Thursday will mark Cashner’s first time pitching at Yankee Stadium. Against the Yankees, Cashner is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings pitched.

Notes on the Yankees:

  • While Yankees starters this season have only given up six earned runs in 33 innings, their bullpen has struggled, bringing a 6.63 ERA (19 innings) into Thursday.
  • With the Marlins, Stanton only played six games against the Orioles. In 24 at-bats, the O’s limited him to three hits and nine strikeouts, but Stanton walked four times.
  • On Wednesday, New York’s new three-headed monster, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Stanton, all homered in the same game for the first time this season as the Yankees topped the Rays 7-2.

Up Next: The Orioles return home for a quick three-game homestead at Camden Yards against the Toronto Blue Jays, beginning on Monday and ending on Wednesday. All three contests are nightcaps beginning at 7:05 pm. The Orioles will have their first off day of the 2018 season on Thursday.

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