The Baltimore Orioles couldn’t get by CC Sabathia Sunday night in game one of the ALDS. They did manage to score three runs against Andy Pettitte last night, which one might have thought wouldn’t have been enough from the outset. However this is a series that was supposed to be marked for it’s offense and home runs, and instead we’ve seen two pitchers duels. When the opposition only puts up two, three is a perfectly good number of runs to score. With the 3-2 victory, the Orioles drew even in the best-of-five ALDS, which will shift to New York for the remainder of the series starting tomorrow night.
Speaking of starting pitching, the Orioles got a gem and then some out of Wei-Yin Chen last night. Chen’s line: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R (one earned), 1 BB, 3 K. The first inning was a bit rough for Chen, as he showed the nerves of a rookie. However he settled down, which is really all you can ask of a guy that’s making his first postseason start. The fact that New York’s run came controversially didn’t ease the burden. Ichiro Suzuki came around third on a Robinson Cano double, and somehow managed to tap dance around the tag of Matt Wieters on two different occasions. According to home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, Ichiro managed to get back and touch home plate (after going post the plate) before Matt Wieters tagged him. From the replays I saw it looked like Wieters was laying on home plate when Ichiro touched it…but what do I know? He also appeared to be way out of the baselines during his run in order to avoid Wieters…but again, what do I know?
Robert Andino and Nate McLouth singled to start the 3rd inning, which was followed up with a J.J. Hardy walk to load the bases. Chris Davis promptly gave the Orioles the lead with a two-RBI double. However Hardy had somewhat of a tough night. Following those RBI, Adam Jones reached on a single that got under the glove of Derek Jeter into left field. Third base coach DeMarlo Hale was waving Hardy around third, however Hardy only saw Alex Rodriguez lining up at third base as if he was going to catch a relay. Rodriguez purposely did that as a decoy, and Hardy held up at third. He knew that was a base running blunder right away (he was later commit an error as well), however as was pointed out on the TBS broadcast he did the next best thing. Some younger players might have recognized they made a mistake and start running again only to get caught in a rundwon between third and home. Hardy didn’t do that; he stayed at third so as not to further compound the mistake.
Matt Wieters led off the 6th with a double, and he would later score on Mark Reynolds’ RBI-single. Eduardo Nunez of NY doubled in the 7th and was later brought home by Derek Jeter, so that Wieters run loomed pretty big. New York would end up loading the bases, however Brian Matusz came in and finished them off. He would also strike out Swisher to end a threat in the 8th. Buck Showalter went back to Jim Johnson after Sunday’s poor outing in the 9th. However Johnson was on his game this time, and he got New York to go 1-2-3 in the 9th inning to preserve the win for the Birds.
This was a huge win for the O’s, because the last thing you want to do is put yourself in a situation where you’ll have to win three games in three day at Yankee Stadium in order to advance. The O’s are 6-3 in the Bronx this year, so if you go by that stat the Orioles have a bit of an advantage. Today is an off day (“travel day”) for the teams, and they’ll resume the series on Wednesday evening. There hasn’t been playoff baseball at Camden Yards since 1997, and I can’t say enough how amazing the Baltimore fans were in these two home games. TBS reporter Craig Sager was in the first base camera well at the end last night with a decibal meter; the noise reached 121 decibals. Sager said that crowds at Oklahoma City Thunder games normally reach 109 or so; therefore the Orioles fans are louder than an indoor NBA arena! I felt that the passion of the fans really lifted the Orioles last night, and even on Sunday in a losing effort. All of that said, the weather in NY looks nice for the remainder of the week so hopefully we should be able to get the rest of the games in without any more rain delays!