New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: 5 Biggest Matchups in Game 1 of ALDS

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New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: 5 Biggest Matchups in Game 1 of ALDS
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The image is lasting.

Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco is on the trail of a deep fly ball from a fresh-faced rookie named Derek Jeter. Tarasco tracks the ball to the wall, where he settles under it for what should be the second out of the eighth inning. Just as the ball is about to fall into Tarasco's glove, it is scooped out of the air and into the stands beyond the right-field fence.

Jeffrey Maier...checking into the annals of baseball history.

For those with a sense of the past, this series should be nostalgic to the extreme.

Two days shy of exactly 16 years ago, these two franchises met for a Game 1 that would go down in history as one of the most controversial matchups in any sport.

(For those O's fans not faint of heart, feel free to check this out for a reminder of what was lost that night in New York.)

The 2012 versions of Baltimore and New York have been separated by no more than two games since September 2, splitting their season series at nine games apiece and making their ALDS matchup the ultimate winner-take-all clash.

Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are the only three members of either organization that remain from that night, and only two former players will take part as their historic careers draw to a close.

However, the foundations from each team's 1996 squad remain alive and well in their present incarnations.

For the Orioles, the emphasis is still on home runs (they finished second in MLB with 214) and a strong bullpen (they finished second with 55 saves).

For the Yankees, the long ball (they led MLB with 245) and...well...the long ball (31 more than the second-place squad).

This year's Yankees, however, had the added benefit of not having to take part in a do-or-die playoff game in order to get to the ALDS, meaning their squad is refreshed and ready to take on a scrappy Orioles squad that has made a living off barely scraping by.

So who gets the leg up in Game 1? Let's break it down. 

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