The past few days have been memorable for us as fans of the Baltimore Orioles. After running into a roadblock against the Tampa Bay Rays to finish up the season, the Orioles entered the post season for the first time in 15 years and played the Texas Rangers on the road in the Wild Card play-in game.
They shocked the baseball world by defeating the Rangers, 5-1, on Friday night and now face the New York Yankees in a best-of-five American League Divisional series. Few expected the Orioles to send the Rangers – who had been in the previous two World Series – to an early vacation.
The Orioles grinded it out and were able to get going against a tough Yu Darvish for the Rangers on the mound and got on their bullpen later on in the game. Joe Saunders – who started for Baltimore on the mound – did not instill a lot of confidence in Birdland when it was announced that he would be on hill Friday; however, manager Buck Showalter had total trust in his southpaw.
Saunders went five-plus innings, and the Baltimore bullpen – which has been excellent all season – came through again late.
With that said, the dream season continues for the Orioles on Sunday against the Bronx Bombers. Jason Hammel – who has been sidelined due to injury, his knee – will start game one of the ALDS. The Bombers have announced that C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte will start the first two games for them.
Both Sabathia and Pettitte have dominated the Orioles as we obviously know over the past few years; however, things are different this year as the Orioles went 9-9 against them and have outscored them 92-90.
The Yankees have the mystique, aura, experience and all that jazz, but the Orioles have a cohesive team, a very strong roster and an intangible that may be silly to mention – magic.
Most are predicting the Yankees will win the five-game series; however, the Orioles have defied expectations in 2012 and I have a feeling it may happen again.
This series is winnable for Baltimore. They just have to bring it against the New Yorkers during perhaps the biggest sports weekend to hit the mid-Atlantic in a long time.