Can the Orioles Spoil the Yankees’ Postseason Hopes?
With just two games left in the season series, can the Orioles play the spoiler and flatten New York’s postseason chances?
After back-to-back wins, including a 7-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night, the New York Yankees hold the top Wild Card spot in the American League. With just two games versus New York remaining on the schedule, the Orioles are running out of opportunities to play the spoiler and doom the Yankees’ postseason chances in 2021. However, Wednesday night’s matchup at Oriole Park at Camden Yards may just be the O’s best chance to hang a loss on the Bronx Bombers.
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Baltimore plans to give the starting pitching duties to their ace, John Means, in Wednesday’s game. Since coming off the injured list, Means has been understandably rusty, giving up 34 runs across 10 starts. However, when healthy, Means has shown abilities that should keep him considered among the best starting pitchers in baseball.
Looking across the diamond, Means will face-off with New York’s starter, Nestor Cortes Jr., a left-handed pitcher who has posted a 2.85 ERA in 10 appearances as a starter this season. In Cortes’ last start against the Orioles on September 3rd, Trey Mancini was able to capitalize on a misplaced fastball Cortes threw in the sixth inning, crushing a 416 ft home run with an exit velocity of 110.8 MPH. Although Cortes would end up with a game-high 13 swings and misses, the Orioles’ lineup didn’t look particularly lost against him, racking up 4 hits and a pair of walks that would later help them force extra innings.
Further aiding their chances on the offensive side is Austin Hays, who will be batting third and playing right field for the O’s on Wednesday. Despite being held hitness last night, Hays reached base twice via walk and has recorded a base hit in 18 of his last 20 games. Batting behind Hays is the Orioles’ designated hitter, Anthony Santander. In his last seven games, Santander has knocked in three home runs and a double, slugging a scorching .708.
Although Trey Mancini will miss tonight’s game, likely due to the abdominal soreness he left Tuesday’s game early with, the Orioles are in a good position to take a game from the Yankees on Wednesday.