Friday, October 5, 2012
Rapid Reaction: One for the Birds
By Wallace Matthews
Wha' happen? The Yankees aren't done with the Baltimore Orioles yet. Or is it vice versa? Buck Showalter's resilient Birds knocked off the Texas Rangers, who a week ago had the best record in the American League, 5-1, to advance to the ALDS against the Yankees. Game 1 is Sunday at 6:15 p.m. at Camden Yards.
What it means: That we all get to spend the weekend in Charm City, the birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe, John Wilkes Booth and Babe Ruth. The Yankees were 6-3 against the Orioles at Camden, but couldn't shake the Birds until the final two games of the season, finishing two games ahead of them in the AL East.
How they did it: The way they won a lot of their games -- closely. The Orioles were 29-9 in the regular season and held a one-run lead after six innings, one scoring after an error by Texas 1B Michael Young in the first inning and the second on a sacrifice fly in the sixth until Nate McLouth's RBI single gave them a little breathing room in the seventh, and tacked on two more in the ninth off Rangers' closer Joe Nathan. The Orioles had just six hits, all singles, before Robert Andino's ninth-inning double, and struck out 12 times, but it was enough to tame the Rangers, who complete a September collapse of Mets-ian proportions.
How Yu like that? Rangers starter Yu Darvish pitched a strong game -- 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K's -- but was outdueled by Joe Saunders, who gave the Orioles 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball against a powerful Texas lineup.
Who's next: Showalter hasn't announced his rotation yet but it would appear that RHP Miguel Gonzalez, who shut out the Tampa Bay Rays for 6 2/3 innings in the Orioles' 1-0 win Tuesday night, would be on rotation to get the ball in Game 1. CC Sabathia will go for the Yankees.
What's to read? My column on the October of Ichiro's dreams is up now; a little later on, Andrew Marchand will have a piece on Nick Swisher and the Ghost of Octobers Past, and Ian O'Connor will have a piece on Joe Girardi.
Coming later: Plenty of news and notes from B-More, where the Yankees will hold a workout later Saturday afternoon. O'Connor, Marchand and myself will be there so check into the blog early and often. Thanks, and we'll see you in Baltimore.