ALDS 2012: 4 Unheralded Orioles Who Are Making Their Mark Against the Yanks

Bradley SmithContributor IIIOctober 9, 2012

ALDS 2012: 4 Unheralded Orioles Who Are Making Their Mark Against the Yanks

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    The Baltimore Orioles continue to amaze and have now proved they are serious contenders in the 2012 MLB postseason after defeating the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS.

    Things are sure to get interesting as the series now moves to the Bronx tied at a game apiece.

    Some of the Orioles' success is due in part to a few players that have done the little things quite well against the Yankees. If Baltimore expects to continue their winning ways, these unsung Birds will have to continue their solid performances.

    Here are a few unheralded Orioles that are making their mark against the Yankees in this ALDS.

Nate McLouth

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    It is probably safe to say that the Baltimore Orioles got more than they even bargained for when they acquired Nate McLouth.

    McLouth has filled in admirably at the leadoff spot for the Birds and has been quite productive against the Yankees in the first two games of this series.

    McLouth is 2-for-8 in two games but has been vital for Baltimore. He drove in both of Baltimore's runs in Game 1 and kept an Orioles rally alive in Game 2 with a base hit off of Andy Pettitte in the third inning. 

    McLouth has been clutch for the Orioles this season and is making a nice comeback in one of the biggest stages of his career.

Wei-Yin Chen

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    Wei-Yin Chen has been the most reliable starting pitcher for the Orioles all season as he is the only starter who has topped 30 starts or more.

    Chen showed some fatigue down the stretch and there were concerns whether or not he would be able to handle the task of shutting down the Yankees in a pivotal game. 

    He was able to hold his own and then some as he allowed two runs and eight hits in 6.1 innings against a difficult Yankees lineup.

    Chen worked himself into a few jams, but he made pitches when he needed to and got support from his defense in timely spots.

    There should be no more concern moving forward for Chen as he took this opportunity and flourished in the spotlight.

Darren O'Day

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    Darren O'Day has continued to work his regular-season success into the postseason. He has pitched in all three playoff games for Baltimore and has shut down the opposition.

    O'Day pitched a clean seventh inning in Game 1 and struck out Alex Rodriguez to end a threat in Game 2. 

    He's been impressive all year for the Orioles, going 7-1 in the regular season with 15 holds and a 2.28 ERA. He has now pitched 3.1 innings this postseason allowing only one hit and earning two holds in the process.

    With guys like Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson grabbing all the headlines out of the bullpen for the Orioles, O'Day is a guy who gets lost in the shuffle, but he's come up huge in shutting down the Yankees so far in this ALDS.

Brian Matusz

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    People outside of Baltimore may not know exactly how bad Brian Matusz was as a starting pitcher earlier this season for the Orioles, which makes his transformation all the more remarkable.

    Matusz has been lights out coming out of the bullpen, and along with O'Day, he's also pitched in all three of Baltimore's postseason games.

    He helped preserve a tie in the eighth inning of Game 1, and held the lead in Game 2 as he struck out two batters in 1.1 innings.

    Matusz has been the main set-up man to closer Jim Johnson and the true unheralded relief pitcher for the Orioles.