Is today finally the day where the last crumb of pixie dust surrounding the magical 2012 Baltimore Orioles gets swatted into CC Sabathia’s gaping maw like some unfortunate, clumsy salmon? Or will they wriggle beyond the Yankee claws and strain against the current, slipping through watery crags to continue their sojourn upstream for another few sun-kissed days?
Um…frankly, as long as it doesn’t take them 13 innings to do so, I’m pretty much good either way. Especially because this game hasn’t even started yet, but is already filling up with what the kids call “the drama” [note: may not actually what the kids call it], as the player inhabiting the body that once was generational talent Alex Rodriguez will start the game on the bench. As Parkes explained earlier, it seems that Joe Girardi– or at the very least his binder– has deemed Eric Chavez a better option at third base for his club in tonight’s clincher, and Raul Ibanez a better DH option against the right-handed Jason Hammel.
It’s hard to argue with Girardi’s logic, and Parkes is probably right when he suggests that “at some point this evening, Rodriguez is going to positively abuse Brian Matusz as a pinch-hitter,” but still… it’s the kind of inevitability that makes us feel every bit our age, I think.
Now, if only the Yanks could figure out a way to do something similar with Curtis Granderson.
Or maybe they won’t have to. It would be foolish to count the Orioles out, as they’ve twice won elimination games already this post-season, but you’d figure that Hammel– as good as he’s been since coming over from Colorado and instantaneously remembering how to have swing-and-miss stuff, upping his strikeout rate by 10% and his swinging strike rate by nearly five– is going to be in tough having to go frame-for-frame with Sabathia, even if the Yankees’ ace hasn’t quite been himself this year.
Here’s what the Orioles lineup will look like, as they attempt to crack the big left-hander.
N. McLouth LF
J. Hardy SS
A. Jones CF
C. Davis RF
M. Wieters C
M. Machado 3B
M. Reynolds 1B
L. Ford DH
R. Andino 2B
J. Hammel RHP
And here, via Brooks Baseball, is Hammel’s pitch usage in 2012.
The Yankee lineup to face Hammel looks about as you’d expect. Well, except… y’know…
D. Jeter SS
I. Suzuki LF
R. Cano 2B
M. Teixeira 1B
R. Ibanez DH
N. Swisher RF
C. Granderson CF
R. Martin C
E. Chavez 3B
This is what we can expect Sabathia to throw by situation (also via Brooks Baseball).
There’s no denying it, this series has absolutely delivered. Though apparently nobody cares…
National Anthem is being played for Orioles-Yankees and the seats at Yankee Stadium are probably only 25-30 percent filled.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 12, 2012
He ain’t lyin’. (via)
But… ah… I’m sure they’ll all show up. Here’s hoping it’s not anticlimactic– though, again, finishing the game in nine innings would kinda be nice, too…
Image via NoMaas.org.