Too Many Homers
The TBS booth was something special last night, for an Orioles fan. I get bringing Cal Ripken into the booth seeing as this is the first time the Birds have been in the postseason in many many years, but how about a little balance up there? I don’t think it’s any bit of a stretch that Smoltz is still a little bent about the Yanks sending him packing back in the 90′s, and it shows in the commentary. A little bit of balance would have been nice to hear; how about Tino or Paulie to go back and forth with Rip? Is that too much to ask? The saving grace was that our Yankees came out on top, sparked by Russell Martin, who was greeted with cheers after barely ducking a fastball to the helmet. In that moment when his shot to left went over the fence you could hear a collective sigh both from the broadcast booth and the stadium. Speaking of the stadium… where did all that orange come from? My guess is they bussed a bunch of extras in from the nearest correctional facility, and judging from the applause at the near beanballs to Martin and A-Rod i’d be right. Their silence as Jim Johnson was smacked around by the Bombers in the ninth was deafening and Yankee fans everywhere loved every minute of it.
Speaking of home runs…
The two most homer-happy teams in the league went head to head and launched only one in the hitter friendly Camden Yards in the series opener, courtesy of the guy who had been DFA’d by nearly every Yankee fan at some point this season. Kudos to the Russ-Bus; the guy has had a few tasty hits this year and has accounted for the only two walk-off hits off the year, both of which left the yard. The Yanks put numbers on the scoreboard in a variety of ways; they got hits, they went deep and even sacrificed a man in from third. I love seeing the opposing pitchers head jerk back like a human Pez dispenser, but it’s cool to see them cross home plate in a variety of ways. RISPFail haunted the home dugout last night and the Yankees sailed on to victory.
Not an ace….
The Big Man came through last night and showed everyone why he gets paid the big bucks. 8.2 innings and two runs against a team that has found a way to win for 183 games, and he did it in style. Over the last few starts (4ER 24IP before last night) CC has found his changeup and he and Martin used it effectively last night, working out of some big jams and keeping the O’s lineup off balance and in check. While it may not have seemed like it at the time, his time on the DL may end up being a good thing. CC is in the midst of a low in innings pitched in several years now, and has had just enough time to get sharp for the October run. Buck had a lineup full of righties out there to try and get the best of Sabathia, but with his change and a nasty slider coupled with excellent fastball command, the Birds never stood a chance.
Baseball America has been releasing their top 20 lists for the various MiL levels and there are some familiar faces making the cut. The trio of Sanchez, Austin and Williams all made the cut for the SAL, and Sanchez and Austin both made another appearance on the FSL list along with Slade Heathcott and Nik Turley. Tyler and Gary came in at 8 and 9, while Slade and Nik took the 17th and 18th spots. Jose Fernendez of the Fish and Gerrit Cole took the top honors. Heathcott has drawn praise from opposing managers as an exciting player and a real gamer, his only real drawback being his durability. His go-for-broke style of play should probably be scaled backa bit if he expects to protect that shoulder of his, which has seen two operations thus far. His tools give him a high ceiling, but his health concerns keep his floor somewhat low. He’ll get his cuts in the AFL this year, which starts very shortly.
A Yankee Legend returns to the big stage…
Andy Pettitte‘s return to the mound happened months ago, but let’s be honest… this is what we’ve all been waiting for. Andy will make his first October start since game 3 of the 2010 ALCS and his first against the Birds since 1996. Andrew Eugene has logged more than a full season of innings in playoff action; 263 to be exact, with a 173/72 K/BB ratio and 3.83 ERA. Andy won’t go down as the most dominant pitcher to grace the big stage, but you can count on him to give you his best. Even when he doesn’t have everything working the man will battle and give his team a chance to win the game. He’ll be battling fellow southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, who has stumbled a bit down the stretch, ending the season with 192.2 IP and a 4.02 ERA, 105 ERA+ and 1.261 WHIP.
Qustions have been raised about wether or not Pettitte will return in 2013, as his year had been cut short by an unfortunate line drive that fractured his ankle and cost him nearly three months of the regular season. Andy went on to say: “I know the competition and the desire to compete is still there, and I don’t feel like I kind of got that itch out from the 70 innings or so that I threw this year. I was expecting to do a little more work than that. But we’ll see. We’ll see how this goes, and then i’ll factor everything probably in”. At this point in the year however, focus is in one place, and that’s on his next start. Tonight Andy will be going for his 20th win in the post season, an MLB record.