2012 ALDS: 6 Yankees Who Must Come to Play in Game 5 vs. Orioles
On Thursday night, the Baltimore Orioles were able to stare elimination in the face and overcome it on the road.
They were able to knock off the New York Yankees 2-1 in 13 innings to tie the American League Division Series at two games apiece, setting up a decisive Game 5 for Friday afternoon.
CC Sabathia will take the ball for the Yankees and Jason Hammel will be pitching for the Orioles.
It's fitting that after 22 games, with each team tied at 11 apiece during the regular season and in the playoffs, it will all come down to one game to determine who moves on to the American League Championship Series.
We've seen a lot of great pitching from the Yankees in this series, especially from the starting rotation of Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes.
The offense, on the other hand, has been a different story.
Many of the Yankee hitters have been slumps and need to turn their fortunes around starting in Game 5 on Friday.
Which particular Yankees need to start playing better and producing in Friday's game?
Click through to find out.
2012 ALDS: .200, 4-for-20, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 stolen base, 3 strikeouts
In the series, Joe Girardi moved Ichiro Suzuki from the bottom of the order all the way up to the No. 2 spot behind Derek Jeter, but thus far he's been struggling.
Before the playoffs began, Ichiro was hitting over .300 for the Yankees and at times looked like the guy who dominated for years with the Seattle Mariners.
What Ichiro needs to do is get on base any way he can, whether it be a hit or a walk, and create more opportunities for the hitters behind him to drive him in.
2012 ALDS: .111, 2-for-18, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 strikeout
Of all the hitters I thought would be struggling in the ALDS, never did I think Robinson Cano's name would come up.
Before Game 4, Cano was hitting just .231. During Game 4, Cano went 0-for-6 with an RBI groundout and left five runners on base.
One year ago in the 2011 ALDS, Cano hit .375 with two home runs and nine RBI and looked unstoppable against the Detroit Tigers.
One year later, after coming into the ALDS hitting .600 in the final couple days of the season, Cano's bat has disappeared.
If the Yankees want to beat Baltimore, Cano needs to wake up as soon as possible.
2012 ALDS: .125, 2-for-16, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 9 strikeouts
Where to even begin with Alex Rodriguez?
When I think of how poorly A-Rod has played so far in the ALDS, it gets me so frustrated because he's getting paid so much money to be a slugger, yet all he has been is a strikeout machine.
Not only does A-Rod look awful against the Orioles starters, but even the relievers have all looked dominant against him.
It's why Joe Girardi pinch-hit for A-Rod and put in Raul Ibanez in Game 3, which paid off.
And it's also why Girardi again pinch-hit for him and put in Eric Chavez in the 13th inning against Jim Johnson instead of letting him take a hack.
We all know A-Rod needs to step up in Game 5. But honestly, should we even wonder if it will happen?
2012 ALDS: .133, 2-for-15, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts
If the Yankees get eliminated by the Orioles in the ALDS, we may have all seen the final days of Nick Swisher in pinstripes.
Sure, he puts up over 20 home runs and 80-90 RBI in the regular season. But in the playoffs, he is an awful hitter.
He seems to do a disappearing act similar to Alex Rodriguez's one, and those are big at-bats that the Yankees are losing, especially if the Yankees have runners on with these guys at the plate.
In Game 4, Swisher left four more runners on base.
In Game 5, if he comes up with runners on, Swisher has to get a big hit for the Yankees.
2012 ALDS: .214, 3-for-14, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Of the hitters who have been struggling for the Yankees, Martin hasn't been the worst one.
He got the go-ahead solo home run against Jim Johnson in Game 1 that sparked a 7-2 victory at Camden Yards.
Since then, he hasn't come up with that big hit, and I keep waiting for him to do so.
He's not striking out at an obscene rate like Alex Rodriguez or Curtis Granderson, but aside from the big home run, Martin only has two other hits in the series.
I think Martin can break out of the slide he's been having and have a solid Game 5 for the Yankees against Jason Hammel.
2012 ALDS: .063, 1-for-16, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 9 strikeouts
Remember when Curtis Granderson hit 43 home runs for the Yankees this season?
That stat seems like a distant memory because of all the hitters for the Yankees who have been struggling, Granderson may be the worst one right now.
Alex Rodriguez's struggles have been well documented, ye, somehow Granderson has kind of gone under the radar with how bad he's been at the plate.
Not only has he been an automatic out, you almost sense that he's going to strike out once he gets to two strikes during a count.
What Granderson needs to do is start being patient at the plate more. If he stopped hacking so much at pitches, he might draw a walk and create an opportunity for someone to come up with a big hit.
But that can't happen if he's going back to the dugout after another strikeout.
For the Yankees to have any chance against the Orioles in Game 5, Granderson desperately needs to end his drought and do something big for the Bombers.