That southpaw, Wei-Yin Chen, will take the ball for Baltimore against formidable Yankees lefty CC Sabathia when the clubs finish off a two-game series at Camden Yards on Tuesday night.
For the Yankees, who have seen Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez scuffle at times in the run-production department, it's all about fielding a deep team, and thanks to that depth, the Yankees are still among the American League's leaders in runs scored.
"It's how you score runs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The big part of our speed game is gone; [Brett Gardner is] not here, now [Eduardo Nunez is] not here as well. That changes who we are. You look at the guys in our lineup, we're a home run-hitting club. If you don't hit home runs, sometimes it's going to be harder to score runs.
"When we run the lineup out there, we're not running a ton of team speed out there. That's who we are. We're on-base guys who keep the line moving, hit balls in the gap and hit balls out of the ballpark. Driving the ball -- that's what we're about."
It will be up to Chen to slow down the Yankees -- a challenge for the lefty because he will be facing New York for the second time this year, marking the first club he will have seen twice in 2012.
In his first outing against the Yankees, on April 10 -- which also happened to be his big league debut -- Chen gave up a leadoff home run to Derek Jeter but settled in and lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) in a no-decision. The lefty said he's getting accustomed to the nature of the Major Leagues, particularly how unpredictable it can be.
"One day you have a good day, and one day you have [it] really bad; just keep pitching and focus what do you do," Chen said.
"They have a really good lineup, and the only thing I can do is keep the ball down and just keep pitching. And I have really good teammates behind me. They are supporting me, so I don't worry about it."
Yankees: CC on a roll
Since allowing five earned runs over six innings in his Opening Day start on April 6 at St. Petersburg, Sabathia has lowered his ERA in each of his six starts that have followed. Over Sabathia's last five starts, opponents are batting just .197 (29-for-147) against him. He also has tied a career high set in 2007 with 53 strikeouts through his first seven starts. Sabathia owns a 16-2 (.889) record with a 2.86 ERA in 23 career starts vs. the Orioles. It's the highest winning percentage by any pitcher in history against the club since its move to Baltimore in 1954 (minimum of 20 starts). Sabathia is 10-1 with a 2.95 ERA in his career at Camden Yards.
Outfielder Curtis Granderson has 19 home runs off left-handed pitchers since the start of 2011, marking the most by any left-handed hitter off lefty pitchers in the Majors over that stretch; Josh Hamilton is second with 15. Granderson has reached base safely in 32 of 35 games this season.
In his last seven games, second baseman Robinson Cano is batting .469 (15-for-32) with four doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs. He has raised his season average from .255 to .303 over the stretch.
Orioles: Call him the Stropper
Over his last eight appearances, reliever Pedro Strop has worked 10 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out seven. He is 1-0 with two saves during that span, with opponents batting .161 (5-for-31) against him. The two saves (April 24-25) were the first two of his career.
The Orioles have hit 37 solo homers this year, the most in the Major Leagues. The Yankees are second with 32. Ten of the last 14 Orioles homers have been solo shots, and seven of J.J. Hardy's nine homers and seven of Adam Jones' 10 long balls have been solo shots.
Jones leads the team with 10 homers, with seven of them tying a game or giving the Orioles a lead. Baltimore is 9-1 when Jones homers.
Yankees opponents have scored within the first two innings in 28 of the club's 35 games this season, while New York batters have done so in 23 of 35 games. Meanwhile, Yankees pitchers have allowed 74 combined runs in the first three innings of games this season and 80 in all innings thereafter.
The Orioles are 12-4 in games decided by two or fewer runs and have won 10 of their last 11 games decided in the seventh inning or later after dropping the first two of the year. Baltimore has won its last four extra-innings games (all on the road) after losing its first two (both at home).