Jobu reviews the Baltimore leg of the ALDS between the Orioles and the Yankees.
It’s kind of a shame when you split two winnable games in the other team’s home stadium, but if you look at the big picture, this split is still pretty important. The Yankees had some frustrating at bats offensively in the first leg of this series (pretty typical), but used a huge ninth inning rally in game one to split the two games. Pretty decent.
Game 1: Yankees 7, Orioles 2
One thing the Yankees have gotten is some very good starting pitching. It started with CC Sabathia in game one. CC was one bad pitch to a lefty away from a 7-0 shutout win. Instead, he hung a breaking ball to Nate McLouth in the bottom of inning and the Orioles took their only lead of the game. Otherwise, CC was brilliant. He ended up coming within one out of his first career playoff complete game.
Instead, a two-out single by the incomparable Lew Ford chased him, and Robertson cleaned up the mess with a nice little strike out. CC’s final line looked like this: 8.2 Ip, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 120 pitches and a big game one win. His best moment of the game came when he worked around a leadoff double by JJ Hardy in the bottom of the eighth. He rebounded to strike out Jones, pop up Wieters and ground out Mark Reynolds to escape the jam, and the Yankees had their huge inning in the ninth.
The Yankees were frustrating to watch on offense for most of this game. They made several outs on the basepaths and only managed two runs through the first eight innings. Then Jim Johnson happened. Johnson hadn’t allowed a run since early September, and came into this game with 51 saves. Naturally, the Yankees jumped all over him. It started with Russell Martin’s lead off bomb to right. Johnson ended up giving up five runs overall, with the real dagger being Robinson Canó’s two run double that made it 6-2. It was a great inning off of a shut down closer, and a very exciting win for the team.
Notable Offense: HR – Martin (1), RBI – Ichiro 2 (2), Teixeira (1), Martin (1), Canó 2 (2), Swisher (1), 2 hits for Jeter, Ichiro and Teixeira
Game Two: Orioles 3, Yankees 2
RISP fail was the story in this one. While the Yankees went 2-8 with men at the ready, they also missed several opportunities to break the game open, or even tie or take a small lead. The worst offender of the game was Curtis Granderson, and I’m not even sure why. Granderson actually managed a hit with RISP, but Teixeira’s calf couldn’t score from second on it, otherwise this game might still be going on. Other culprits were Nick Swisher, who continues to un-clutch his way out of all of our hearts (1-32 with RISP in the playoffs now) and Eduardo Núñez, who couldn’t get Tex home from third with one out during that aborted rally.
If there’s one thing we can all be proud of with this game, it’s the pitching of 40 year old Andy Pettitte. Much like Sabathia, one hanging breaking ball to a lefty cost him two big runs and a loss, but when you go out and give up three runs in seven innings in October with a lineup with as much alleged clout as the Yankees top nine, you should be walking away with a win. I know Wei-Yin Chen is the best pitcher in the league and all (wait, he isn’t?), but come on fellas. Anywho, Andy’s final line looked pretty solid: 7 Ip, 7 H, 3 runs, 1 BB, 5 K, 98 pitches and his first loss of the playoffs (0-1).
Andy really did a great job, and the defense didn’t really help. Jeter threw away a routine grounder and Tex had an error on a dribbler right at him. I also felt like Canó could have dove to stop Reynolds’ RBI single in the seventh. He might not have gotten the out, but the run wouldn’t have scored. Sometimes I think Robbie thinks he’s just a little faster or taller than he is, but I can’t get too mad the way he plays D.
C’est la vie, right?
Notable Offense: RBI – Canó (3)
Note: Props to Ichiro for this ridiculous slide to score the Yankees’ run in the first, but what the hell was Robbie Thompson thinking sending the runner? Ichiro should have been out by 30 feet (picture above, video below).
Featured image courtesy of: Alex Brandon/AP
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