Diverse offensive attack leads to crucial big inning

But if they subtly undermined that narrative all season long, as night they chewed it up, spit it out, and stomped on the tattered remains literally from the beginning of the game. After Derek Jeter singled, he took off for second on a 3-2 pitch to Ichiro Suzuki, allowing him to score from first with ease when Ichiro lined a double into the left-center field gap. The again in the fourth, Alex Rodriguez was running on an 0-2 pitch to Robinson Cano, a fact that allowed him to avoid the double play when Mark Reynolds smothered Cano’s liner at first base. That proved crucial when, two batters later, A-Rod scored from second on Mark Teixeira‘s long single to tie the game at 2-2 just an inning after the Orioles had taken the lead.

All of that was a mere tune up for the ninth inning, however. Sure, the big hit was a lead off long ball by Russell Martin, who crushed a 2-0 pitch high into the Baltimore night for a no-doubt go ahead homer, but that merely allowed the Yankees to go nuts with the running, highlighted by nothing so much as Joe Girardi calling for a hit-and-run with Raul Ibanez on first base and no outs two batters later.…

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Big ninth inning gives Yanks 7-2 win in Game One

Then the Yankees’ bats finally took over. The Orioles called on their closer, Jim Johnson, in the tie game at home, but that turned out to be the worst move either team made all night. Johnson surrendered a home run to the first batter he saw, Russell Martin, to put the Yankees ahead for the first time since the top of the third inning, and from there the flood gates opened. Raul Ibanez followed the home run with a single, moved to third on a hit and run, and then Eduardo Nunez scored in his place on a perfectly placed swinging bunt by Ichiro Suzuki. To add insult to injury, the Orioles didn’t get any outs on that play. Johnson finally recorded an out by striking out Alex Rodriguez, but Robinson Cano came through with a double to left field that scored both Derek Jeter and Ichiro, then moved to third base on the throw home and scored himself on a Nick Swisher sac fly to push the lead to 7-2.…

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Game 1 2012 ALDS, Game Thread: Yankees at Orioles

Before I go any further, I need to vent. On the road!? Seriously, the road?! After all the huffing and puffing about how important winning the division is under the new playoff format, what is the prize that awaits the division winners? A road trip! Baseball will never cease to amaze me, in a bad...

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ALDS Game One preview: Yankees @ Orioles

Hello October!:

It’s been nothing but gorgeous weather here in the mid-Atlantic for the past month or so, but October came in with a vengeance yesterday evening. I, for one, went from wearing shorts on a trip to the park yesterday morning to sleeping in a sweatshirt with the windows thrown open overnight, and it’s only gotten more stark today. It’s cool, it’s wet, and there’s no break in sight for this evening. Local forecasts are calling for temperatures in the mid 50s and an increasing chance of precipitation at game time, though more on the level of light showers than torrential downpours. So expect the game to be played under cold(ish), wet, conditions. Just how playoff baseball in the Northeast is supposed to be, right?

Jason Hammel:

It’s not very often that C.C. Sabathia feels like the less important pitcher in a playoff match up, but in the early going all eyes are going to be on Jason Hammel today.…

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Alex Rodriguez is beyond redemption

The heading on this piece sounds harsh and it was not meant to be. A-Rod had his 2009. That was the last season that he was the former Alex Rodriguez, the superstar version. And he came up big in that post season. He performed in that post season the way you expected a superstar to perform. He is beyond being a superstar now. Now, Alex Rodriguez is just a better than good player. And that is all the Yankees need and expect him to be. And as such, the meaning of the heading is that he is beyond his capability to be the big bat that hoists the Yankees on his shoulders and leads the team to glory.

For those that focus on the money Alex Rodriguez makes, let it go. That money is a sunk cost and yes it is a problem because of 2014 and the hard cap that Boy Steinbrenner is dictating. But there is nothing the Yankees or Alex Rodriguez can do about that.…

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Orioles starting Hammel in Game One

That “when healthy” qualifier is a pretty big one, however, if only because that hasn’t been lately. Hammel pitched just three innings of his start in Detroit back on July 13th, and then didn’t make another start until September 6th, against the Yankees. He went 5 innings in that game, and then lasted 3.2 innings against the Rays on September 11th, and hasn’t made another appearance since then. In other words, the Orioles will be anchoring their ALDS staff with a pitcher who hasn’t appeared in a game in just under a month, and has a total of 11.2 innings pitched since the All-Star game.

Somewhat reassuring for Showalter, I assume, is that, in that September 6th game against the Yankees Hammel struck out six and walked just two in holding the Bombers to just a single run, so if rust was an issue then he wasn’t showing it at all. Still, I think the Yankees are catching a slight break here.…

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