CC Sabathia looks to turn in a similar effort in today's Game 5 as he did in Game 1. (Image: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

ALDS Game 5 Preview – Orioles at Yankees – Elimination Day


The New York Yankees have played 22 games against the Baltimore Orioles including the postseason in 2012 and have scored two more runs than the Birds. The result has been 11 wins for each team. Today’s game will determine who had the better 2012 season and earns the right to face the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.

Elimination games are, well, not exactly fun. They are stressful, leave little room for error and momentum is no longer a factor (if it ever was). Both teams have proven that pitching in the postseason is extremely important and each squad has had fabulous outings.

Neither team’s offense is doing much of anything. The Yankees are hitting .216 as a team and the Orioles are sitting below the Mendoza line (.197). As each inning has passed throughout the series, it has become more and more evident that the slightest error, mental lapse or managing gaffe could single-handily derail the game. Today, one of those instances not only puts the game in peril but could end a season.

While the Yankees would have loved to have won last night so that CC Sabathia could have been available to start Game 1 of the ALCS, they couldn’t ask for anyone better to start an elimination game. Of course this will be an all hands on deck affair, but if there is a starter on the team that could give length and come up big in this spot it is Sabathia. Some may contend that Andy Pettitte would be a better option for this game if on regular rest, but he’s not and even if he was, I think I would prefer the big southpaw over the elder lefty.

The Orioles pounded Sabathia during the regular season; beating the lefty twice and producing the highest ERA he allowed against any team at 6.38 along with a 1.636 WHIP. But, in Game 1 of the ALDS Sabathia was excellent. He tossed 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball and picking up the win. Sabathia pitched well in the Bronx this season going 7-4 with a 2.69 ERA. The Big Man did not make a start against the O’s in the regular season at the Stadium.

Sabathia’s opponent this evening is Jason Hammel. The 29-year-old righty pitched very well himself in Game 1, allowing just two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

It is easy to run on the assumption that this series will continue to revolve around very good pitching. Every part of my logical thinking says this will be the case. However, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that today is the day that at least two of the Yankees having incredibly poor series (Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez assuming he plays, Nick Swisher or Curtis Granderson if he cracks the lineup) come out of their slump in a big way. Cano just isn’t this bad. A-Rod is about as due as anyone on the planet to have a good game. Swisher just missed a couple bombs last night. And Granderson; well everyone has a good day once in a while.

Robinson Cano needs to generate some hard hit balls today to jump start the Yankees offense. My gut tells me he does. (Image: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE)

A couple lineup questions I alluded to include; where does Jeter play, is Raul Ibanez in at DH and do either A-Rod or Granderson sit today? Each brings its own set of questions and undeniably Yankees manager Joe Girardi has some tough calls to make.

No matter how the lineup is written, it would be great to get Sabathia some breathing room early on as it is just as likely (or unlikely) the Orioles bats wake up. So it is up to the Yankees to get runs any way they can. If it is small ball, fine. I’m not a fan of bunting, but every run is important today so if that’s how they come then so be it. My guess it’s going to be the long ball to the rescue. The Yankees have been an all or nothing team for a good part of the season. Today is the day we get the ALL part of their game. Call it a GUT instinct, much like Girardi’s call to pinch-hit for A-Rod with Ibanez in Game 3; because it is certainly not based on recent trends. Without a big effort from Sabathia, the offense or both, we may be watching another team celebrate on the Yankees turf.

Tags: New York Yankees

  • Kevin

    The Yankees have no shot of winning Game 5. They have limped their way and
    lucked out to this game but the limping will continue and their luck will run out.
    The pitching has been very good but the offense has been terrible (except for
    Jeter, of course — what else is new?). The Orioles, however, have stuck it out all season and stayed right with the Yankees in every way. And they beat Texas in a winner-take-all matchup – IN Arlington. That shows a lot. Conversely, the Yankees really don’t deserve to go any further because they had a million chances to sweep the Orioles or at least take it in 4 but have found every way on earth to send this to a Game 5, where the Orioles will remind the Yankees that they should have taken care of business in Games 1-4 and not let it get to a Game 5. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was yet another 1-run loss for the Yankees, but don’t be surprised if CC gets smacked around and the Orioles end up winning with 10 runs on the board. CC is great, but how many times in a row
    can he throw a great game before he gets pounded. And the Orioles
    will be ready to do some pounding after 15 years of regular-season-only
    baseball. The Orioles are post-season hungry; the Yankees are not.

    I’m a Yankees fan and would love a win today in Game 5, but I’m sick of all the choking and 0-fers at the plate, not to mention all of the losses in 1-run games
    (e.g., 5 out of 7 to the A’s, regular season) and the lack of being able to come back after the 7th inning (1-53 in the regular season). That is nasty. Moreover, Granderson and A-Rod are better than this and there’s no reason why they aren’t hitting, except that they are choking and not being patient. A-Rod is an 0-2 count or a 1-2 count waiting to happen at every at-bat. I can’t remember the last time he hit a homerun, but it has to be at least 75 games. Sickening.
    30 million/year and we could all yawn ourselves to sleep waiting for a homer, even an XBH from this overpaid metrosexual. In the meantime, it’s
    SO after SO and the Yankees and their fans deserve better. Chavez is as good or better than A-Rod at 3rd and nowadays, as good with the bat. Add Granderson and A-Rod — 2 postseason bums — to the rest of a non-producing lineup and you get:
    “Orioles win, Yankees lose.”

    I hope I am wrong, but I just don’t see the Yankees going to the ALCS this year.
    They have been given too many chances and they just couldn’t seal the deal.
    Tonight, the bullpen may do its job, but the damage will have been done
    and the offense will do what it’s been doing all year–which is little or nothing after the 7th inning when trailing. I seriously hope I’m wrong though.

    If the Yankees end up losing Game 5, at least Yankee fans can say they got
    5 more games to watch than Red Sox fans did.

    • Chris_Carelli

      Kevin, thanks for the comment. First, I hope you’re wrong too. A lot of what you say has merit, but to say they have “no shot” is a little much. The Yankees have had a rough time winning games when down in late innings. There is no disputing that. A-Rod, Granderson, Cano and Swisher have all looked pretty bad at the plate. My point was that it can all change and do so in a heartbeat. Teams go through cycles and unfortunately the Yankees offense is in a major downturn right now. Thankfully they’ve gotten excellent pitching. If they escape this round, there will definitely need to be a little more balance in the ALCS. At least you are getting one of your wishes and that is A-Rod riding the pine today in favor of Chavez. If the Yankees can’t get a bunch of runs and early you may be right. Time for the offense to do their part.

    • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

      While there is no debating that the Yankees offense has been horrendous, the Orioles offense has been just as bad. The Yankees have outscored the Orioles by 4 runs this series, but really, both offenses have been anemic. That’s the reason I think the Yankees have a good shot – Sabathia is on the mound, who is better than Hammel, and I trust the Yankees offense to bounce back more than the Orioles, since they’re more talented overall. Of course, anything can happen in one game, but I’d give the Yankees about a 60% shot at this point, based mostly on the starting pitching advantage.