And so it’s come to this: Yankees and Orioles have been battling each other all year, a near storied rivalry in which the Yankees have done nothing but dominate against the O’s.
The Orioles season has been nothing short of inspiring as they were poised to take the AL East from the big bad Yankees all the way down to game 162. The series opens in Camden Yards in Baltimore, and it will be a combo of the Orioles bats and pitching that will be the key to them besting the Yankees.
This 2012 Yankees team is unique, it’s not one that has the most swagger, the most confidence or even a huge edge they’re a team that’s relying mostly on their big names to garner the faves nod. But, that’s not a slap in the face to the Yankees it’s just a taste of humble pie as they now realize that they’re not their dominating team of old, they’re a vulnerable one needs to play all 9 innings and cherish every run to win.
The Orioles will need their bullpen–which has been one of the best in the league to step up huge, despite their post season inexperience if they hope to dispatch of the Yankees. Closer Jim Johnson proved to be lights out in the Wild Card game vs the Texas Rangers, and there’s no signs of him slowing down. The Yankees need to get some consistency out of closer Rafael Soriano–yes, I said Rafael Soriano, lest you forget that the Yankees rock in Mariano Rivera has been out all season due to an ACL injury. The loss of Rivera is one that the Yankees can’t underestimate and the Yankees really need Soriano to elevate his game.
Although both teams have split in head to head matchups in the regular season, the edge the Yankees have is that every single time they’ve needed to put the Orioles away they’ve been able to do so. Not once have the Orioles ever taken 1st from the Yankees since their foot race down the stretch kicked off. The key for the Yankees will be their ability to get timely hitting, the story of how many men they’ve left in scoring position has been a reoccuring theme that come post season they need to correct. Another big key for the Yankees will be two names: Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Both players salaries alone almost outweighs some teams’ entire payrolls and their woes in the postseason have become a chink in the Yankees armor as they struggle to pull through behind the plate.
For the Orioles inexperience will be one of their keys, although they’re very familiar with the Yankees and have just come off a post season win off the Rangers, how will they fare in an actual series on a stage where the Yankees have historically had their number? This will be a huge task for the young squad and Buck Showalter, but even if they can take this to 5 games there’s truly no counting the Orioles out.
I’m going to have to go with the Yankees to beat the Orioles in 4 games, back in Yankee stadium. That Yankees rotation with Sabathia, Andy Pettitee–the most winningest post season pitcher and a stable Haroki Kuroda is just too potent for me to pass up.