The postseason is finally here and the New York Yankees are starting on the road because of the new ALDS format and it starts with a very tough test. It is against a familiar opponent who the Bronx Bombers have faced 18 times this year and had a 9-9 record in those games. This rival has been pesky all season, including pushing the Yankees the last 30 games to the final game of the season. It all begins Sunday night at 6:15 on TBS in a ballpark that will see its first playoff game in over 15 years.
Yes, I am talking about the Baltimore Orioles! The Orioles have been one of the surprising stories of the baseball season and the surprise continued in the Wild Card game against the Texas Rangers. Despite everyone questioning the move manager Buck Showalter made by starting Joe Saunders, the O’s offense got to Yu Darvish early and the pitching held up in some tight situations.
That has defined Baltimore all season. It is a team that everyone expected would fold whether it was their youth or the fact they were being outscored by all their opponents going into the last series of the season. Well, that was not the case. These teams are so even because in those 18 games they played, the total runs scored was 92-90 in favor of Baltimore. That’s as dead even as you can get! Plus, the O’s are 75-0 this year when they lead after the 7th inning.
For Game 1, the Yankees will use their ace, CC Sabathia, who has been dominant over his last three starts. However, he has had bad memories in Camden Yards this season (0-2, 6.38 ERA in 2012). Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles will throw Jason Hammel. Hammel has been their “ace” in 2012. But, he has not pitched since September 11th due to a discomfort in his right knee. It is a matchup of the man with a World Series ring against a pitcher who has been effective all year, holding opponents to a .234 average.
For this show, I brought in Zachary Wilt from BaltimoreSportsReport.com to breakdown this series. We go over the X-Factors, the tale of the tape in terms of who has the advantage in lineup, starting pitching, bullpen, and defense. Then, we predict the outcomes of both divisional series in the American League. It will surprise you who I think will be the difference in this series when it is all said and done. Let’s just say it has to do with a certain player returning to his hometown for the first two games.
Plus, Yanks Go Yard will be your home for postgame shows. Tune in 30 minutes after the game on Sunday to hear me recap Game 1 and look ahead to Game 2 Monday night. We will also try to have an Orioles’ guest for each recap show to discuss the game with us. It should be a fun series all around and as someone who has been supporting Baltimore all year, I expect a close, competitive series!