This weekend, the Baltimore Orioles showed their fans – and the baseball world – that they are in the playoff race to stay for sure. They have played their rivals, the New York Yankees to the limit and showed them the same old script has indeed changed.
After being beaten down by them for so long, the Orioles were looking to take the long, four-game series from the Yankees on Sunday. That would not be the case as the Yankees completely annihilated the Orioles, 13-3, on a very gorgeous day in Charm City.
For all the Orioles grit, guile and gamesmanship they showed in their victories on Thursday and Saturday, the Yankees have one thing they don’t have: experience in big moments.
It’s not to say that the Orioles can’t hang with the Yankees; however, on Sunday, we all saw why the Yankees are still the team to beat in American League East despite being in a month-long slump.
They are a game up on the Orioles in the American League East standings with a 79-61 record; meanwhile, the Orioles are 78-62 and still hold the second wild card spot for now.
Baltimore starting pitcher Zach Britton was off and so were the most of the relievers who came in for mop-up duty. No matter what anyone thinks, if the Orioles – or any team – want to go deep in October, they’ll need reliable starting pitching.
On the day, Britton – who had been pitching very, very well before facing the Yankees – could not get his pitches over, and when he did, they either missed their location, or he got hit hard. The Yankees knew it, and they went to town on him.
Britton gave up five runs on 3 1/3 innings, and ran his pitch count up to 80 before he was yanked. He walked five New York batters, and if do that – especially so early in a game – they will make you pay. Then again, if you walk five in the first three -plus innings against even a sub .500 team you’ll lose anyway.
The Yankees used a four-run fourth inning and a five-run eighth to send the Orioles to a loss. Derek Jeter drove in three; Curtis Granderson hit a big homer in the sixth and drove in five.
Britton made way too many mistakes in his outing and should use Sunday as a learning experience. The Orioles are playing at another level right now and the only way they’ll get into the playoff is to mitigate their mistakes and take advantage of situations.
The offense could not do much against New York pitching, and their best chance slipped away when manager Joe Girardi – wisely – pulled his starter on the mound, Freddy Garcia. He’d given up three runs in the fourth inning and it looked like Baltimore was going to pull out another miracle.
That came to a halt as Girardi, perhaps being tentative, brought in Joba Chamberlain and he quickly took care of the Orioles. He’d get the win, strike out four Orioles in 1 2/3 innings and kill any chance for a Baltimore comeback.
If anything positive came from the loss on Sunday for Baltimore, Wilson Betemit – who has seen limited playing time since coming off the DL – drove in two runs, and Matt Wieters had an RBI-single.
The Orioles played well over the weekend, except for Sunday, and have to brush this loss off as Tampa Bay comes into town for another pivotal series. The three-game set starts on Tuesday and ends on Thursday before they head out on a West Coast road trip.
They have to keep winning and hang in there. The Rays are only a game behind them in the wild card hunt. Also, the Angels have won six in a row and are a game behind as well.
Get ready for another rollercoaster week in Birdland.