Monday, September 10, 2012

Yankees Light up Orioles and Split Series; The Week Ahead...

This weekend, the Baltimore Orioles showed their fans – and the baseball world – that they are in the playoff race to stay for sure. They have played their rivals, the New York Yankees to the limit and showed them the same old script has indeed changed.

After being beaten down by them for so long, the Orioles were looking to take the long, four-game series from the Yankees on Sunday. That would not be the case as the Yankees completely annihilated the Orioles, 13-3, on a very gorgeous day in Charm City.

For all the Orioles grit, guile and gamesmanship they showed in their victories on Thursday and Saturday, the Yankees have one thing they don’t have: experience in big moments.

It’s not to say that the Orioles can’t hang with the Yankees; however, on Sunday, we all saw why the Yankees are still the team to beat in American League East despite being in a month-long slump.

They are a game up on the Orioles in the American League East standings with a 79-61 record; meanwhile, the Orioles are 78-62 and still hold the second wild card spot for now.

Baltimore starting pitcher Zach Britton was off and so were the most of the relievers who came in for mop-up duty. No matter what anyone thinks, if the Orioles – or any team – want to go deep in October, they’ll need reliable starting pitching.

On the day, Britton – who had been pitching very, very well before facing the Yankees – could not get his pitches over, and when he did, they either missed their location, or he got hit hard. The Yankees knew it, and they went to town on him.

Britton gave up five runs on 3 1/3 innings, and ran his pitch count up to 80 before he was yanked. He walked five New York batters, and if do that – especially so early in a game – they will make you pay. Then again, if you walk five in the first three -plus innings against even a sub .500 team you’ll lose anyway.

The Yankees used a four-run fourth inning and a five-run eighth to send the Orioles to a loss. Derek Jeter drove in three; Curtis Granderson hit a big homer in the sixth and drove in five.

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