09 October 2012

ALDS Game Two: Orioles 3, Yankees 2

Even if tonight's game wasn't literally a must-win, going to New York down 2-0 would have been mighty troublesome for the Orioles. They needed a good start from Wei-Yin Chen, and to actually score some runs against long-time O's nemesis Andy Pettitte.

The Good:

  • Given that the strength of the O's pitching staff was supposed to be the bullpen, it might be mildly surprising how decently the starters have pitched so far. Wei-Yin Chen continued the trend; 6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K.  Another trend was Buck Showalter hanging with his starter too long, letting Chen come out for the 7th to see the Yankees line-up for the 4th time. Two hits and a run later, and he was pulled for Darren O'Day (who struck out A-Rod, the only batter he faced) - though O'Day probably should have started the inning (and this time Buck got burned).
  • And Brian Matusz continued his stellar relief work, pitching 1.1 scoreless innings and striking out a pair. And he's not just a LOOGY, as some suggest; right-handed batters against Matusz the reliever are now just 1-25 with 9 K's to 2 unintentional walks.
  • Jim Johnson was once again called on in the 9th, and this time he delivered; two easy groundouts and a strike-out of Alex Rodriguez.
  • Chris Davis picked up a pair of hits, and drove in 2 runs. He's continued swinging a hot bat in the post-season.
The Bad:
  • For much of the game, many O's batters seemed to just be flailing at the ball at the plate. Notably Adam Jones and Manny Machado to my eye, but they certainly weren't the only offenders.
  • JJ Hardy made a rare error at short, and Matt Wieters allowed a rare pitch to get by him behind the plate. Mark Reynolds made an error (no one surprised there).
  • More Wieters; a throw in the 1st had Ichiro dead to rights at home, but Wieters made a couple of lunging tag attempts that allowed Ichiro to evade him and end up getting in there safely. Amazing play on Ichiro's part, but Wieters has to find a way to turn that into an out.
  • More Hardy; in the 3rd, he failed to score from second on a single by Adam Jones and stopped at third. He would have been in there if he had went, and the third-base coach was waving him in, but Hardy didn't pick him up and instead allowed A-Rod to fool him at third.
The Final:

Huge win for the Orioles, who tie up this series. They'll need to take two of three in New York, but they're perfectly capable of doing that (they went 6-3 there this year). Exorcised some demons, beating the Yankees in a play-off game, with Jim Johnson closing things out. Another one-run with for the O's; just like they wrote it up. Have to say that watching this game was way, way more stressful than watching the O's go for win #70 late in September (as in previous seasons). But I'll take the trade-off, to watch some October baseball in Baltimore.


Anonymous said...

I won't fault Buck for using Chen to start the 7th. The bullpen is the team's strength and he needs to make sure he doesn't over use it early. Sunday night he pitched everyone other than Strop and Ayala and I'm not real sure he trusts those two in key situations against the Yankees.

Bret said...

Machado looks like Arod has mentored him on many aspects of baseball including postseason performance.

The offense needs to start producing, the Yankees are a very good hitting team especially when fully healthy like they are now and you can't expect the O's staff to hold them to 2 runs for 8 innings or 2 runs for 9 innings in NY.

The last 6 games the O's have scored 15 runs, 4 of those 15 came in the 9th inning when the outcome was pretty much decided and in neither case did those 4 runs matter. Somehow the O's have won 3of the 6 games including 2 must wins. It is time to start valuing at bats, taking walks and make every pitch matter. If they somehow win this series it isn't going to be because Gonzalez and Tillman pitched 2 hit shutouts.

Liam said...

Bret- I agree with you that the offense has looked weak lately but we've faced 6 consecutive top notch starters. Even by playoff standards, Darvish, CC and Petitte are a tough trio, and the road looks to get a little easier with Hughes and Kuroda coming up. Game 5 against CC would be tough I think we've got a good shot in the next 2.

Matt P said...

A split against CC and Petitte is a good outcome. If the Os can't beat up Kuroda and Hughes then I'm not sure they deserve to go on.

But those guys aren't pitching well and I expect the Os to start scoring some runs.