Jobu previews the five game set between the Orioles and the Yankees.
I guess it’s only fitting that these two teams go at it in a five game series worth all the marbles right now. They were within one game of each other for the American League East since the beginning of September before the Yankees finally swept the Red Sox to win the crown, but they didn’t beat the O’s to win the division. Talk about poetic justice. We’re going to do this one a little differently, but here’s your official preview.
Although the Yankees have home field advantage, and therefore three of the games are at Yankees Stadium, I find it a little frustrating that this series starts with two games in Baltimore. I feel like the best team in the league should start the playoffs at home, so hopefully this will be resolved for next year’s playoffs.
Anyway, these two teams played each other eighteen times this season. The Yankees won nine of those, which means the Orioles also one nine for you non math majors. That’s right, the two teams who battled for the AL East for six months and split the season series with each other, get to play for the right to move on to the ALCS against the winner of the series between the Tigers and the A’s.
If I were John Sterling, I would say… “That’s baseball, Suzyn.” Actually first I would make an increasingly senile and ridiculous, borderline racist home run call that no one understands. Then I would say “That’s baseball, Suzyn.” You got the feeling the Yankees would not be able to avoid the Orioles in October after they beat them out for the division by pounding the Sox. You just knew it would happen.
On paper, this should be an easy win for the Yankees. Their pitchers and hitters, as a whole, are more talented and have tons more playoff experience than the guys in the Baltimore dugout. Sabathia, Kuroda and Pettitte should, on paper, easily handle Jason Hammels, Wei-Yin Chen and Steve Johnson… or whoever (Miguel Gonzalez?). On paper, Jeter, Canó and Granderson should outhit Jones, Davis and Reynolds. Unfortunately for the Yankees, baseball isn’t played on paper. It’s played on the field.
The Orioles are in the midsts of one of those magical seasons. They only outscored their opponents by seven runs this year. This means they won a lot of close games. They went 16-2 in extra inning games (at one point they won 16 in a row), and they won 29 one-run games. The ability to win close games is an immensely important skill to have in the post season. When they get leads, their bullpen doesn’t allow them. That makes them tough.
As a Yankees fan, I’m obviously going to pick the Yankees in this series. First of all, I really do think the Yankees have a better team, and they’re healthy. Secondly, too many things have gone the Orioles way this season. At some point, I have to think that their magic is going to run out. At least I have to hope that, right? Either way this is going to be a very tough series for both teams.
In the end, I think the Yankees will take this one and move on to the ALCS, but it will take five games, and they will all be very, very stressful for me.
Featured image courtesy of: Brad Rempel/Icon SMI
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