Series: ALDS Game 5
Time: 5:07 PM EST
Starters: CC Sabathia (1-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (0-0, 3.18 ERA)
What a great story the Orioles have been this season.
After finishing the 2011 season 69-93 and 28 games behind the first place New York Yankees, Baltimore now finds themselves one game away from the American League Championship Series.
Only problem: they have to beat the Yankees one more time to get there.
Can they do it?
You better believe they can.
This year Baltimore has the magic. The Orioles fans have life again and the players are clearly feeding off of the energy. They reached the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, knocked off the mighty Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card game and now find themselves facing a Yankee team with whom they match up with extremely well. Everything is going the Orioles' way right now.
So how will they do it? How will they knock off the highest payrolled team in baseball?
It all starts with today's starter Jason Hammel.
Hammel needs to keep the game close. If he lets the Yankees score in the first few innings like they did against him in Game 1, and the Orioles have to play catch-up, Baltimore will be in big trouble.
New York is too experienced in the playoffs and know how to capitalize on an early lead, especially while playing in front of their home crowd.
However, there is a reason the Orioles elected Hammel as their Game 1 starter. In 2012, Baltimore won 13-of-19 games in which he started, and he gave up more than four earned runs only once. If you take out his abysmal June start against the Angels in which he got shelled for eight earned runs, Hammel’s ERA would be at just 3.07 on the season
On September 6, Hammel shut down the Yankees for only one run through five innings and earned the win. If he is able to duplicate his start today, the Orioles will have a great chance of winning.
Another reason Baltimore will have the edge in Game 5 is their success against CC Sabathia.
Everybody knows that the season is not always telling of how players actually do in the playoffs (e.g. Alex Rodriguez’s playoff history). However, looking back on the season, Sabathia, though three starts against the Orioles, went 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA.
According to CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder, against Sabathia, “Adam Jones [is] .311/.367/.600 with three homers and 10 RBI in 49 plate appearances and J.J. Hardy [has hit] .381/.381/.714 in 21 PA.”
Regardless, the Orioles' bats have not been clicking this series. Good news for Baltimore, neither have the Yankees, other than in Game 1.
Both teams have combined for less than five runs per game through the first four games of the series.
If players like Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy are able to step up like they have shown they can against Sabathia in Game 5, I see the Orioles advancing to the ALCS.
Whether or not you think Baltimore will win, if you are a baseball fan do not miss this game.