Monday, October 8, 2012

We Took 120 CC's and a Martin Caplet, and I'm Calling You In the Morning

Last night, the Yankees and Orioles played the 1st postseason baseball game in Baltimore in 15 years.

You'd think the O's fans would have stayed for the whole game.

It was a tight one. CC Sabathia started for the Yankees, and put up the kind of performance you would hope your ace would give you in Game 1 of a Playoff series. He went into the 9th inning, allowing just 2 runs. But 4 Oriole pitchers held the Yankees to just 2 runs over 8.

The Yankee runs scored as follows: Derek Jeter led off the game with a single, and Ichiro Suzuki doubled him home; and Mark Teixeira nearly hit one out for a 3-run home run in the 4th, but was held to a single that scored just 1 run.

All through the game, the Oriole fans did their best to act like Red Sox fans: They chanted "Yankees suck!" and roared for their own team -- although, in their favor, they didn't get drunk and throw garbage on the field, like the Fenway animals have been known to do.

This was one of those games where men left on base, the Yankees' season-long habit of scoring runs via the home run (although not in this game -- yet) and not with sub-homer hits with runners in scoring position (RISP) and thus leaving men on base, was going to come back to bite us: The Yankees wasted a leadoff walk by Nick Swisher in the 2nd, men on 1st and 2nd in the 4th, men on 1st and 2nd again in the 6th, men on 1st and 2nd with nobody out (and then 2nd and 3rd with 1 out) in the 7th, and a man on 1st in the 8th.

So Russell Martin, with his .211 regular-season batting average, leads off the top of the 9th against Oriole closer Jim Johnson, who had a team-record 51 saves this season. It seemed like a mismatch.

Martin drove a no-doubt-about-it home run to left field.

It was 3-2 Yankees.  The Yankee bench went wild. The Oriole fans? As they say in English soccer, to the tune of "Bread of Heaven"...

We can see you!
We can see you!
We can see you sneaking out!

We -- can see you -- snea -- king -- out!

First home postseason game for this team since before 99.99 percent of Americans had heard of Monica Lewinsky, since Justin Bieber was 3 years old, and they abandoned ship when the score was only 3-2 to the opposition in the 9th inning.

I guess Baltimore has always been a football town.

Or maybe they were psychic, and saw what was coming. Raul Ibanez singled (and was replaced by pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez). Jeter singled. Ichiro singled home Nunez -- 4-2. A-Rod struck out... Don't worry, Squawker Lisa, I'm not going to judge him this time. But Robinson Cano doubled -- 6-2.  Swisher flied to center to bring home Cano -- 7-2.

The Oriole bullpen had a complete postseason meltdown, and, unlike 1996 or '97, they can't even blame this one on Armando Benitez.

CC got the 1st 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, then allowed a double, and Joe Girardi took him out, having thrown 120 pitches. Girardi brought David Robertson in to get the last out, and he got it.

Now, if I had told you in the summer, when Martin was hitting around .160, that he would end up getting (at least through October 7) the biggest hit of the season, you would've said, "Let me have what you're having, I wanna get loaded, too!"

(Well, you would have, if you were Jackie Gleason, circa 1955. Not many people talk like that anymore. But I do. I'm old-school.)

Game 2 of this American League Division Series is tonight. Here's something you don't hear before every Yankee postseason game -- but you hear it before a lot of them: Andy Pettitte will be the Yankees' starting pitcher. For the Orioles, who will be desperate not to go into The Bronx trailing 2 games to 0, the starter will be Wei-Yin Chen, who has given the Yankees trouble this season.

By the way, since winning Game 2 of the 1996 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards, the Orioles' home record in postseason play is now 2-7. Against the Yankees alone, it's 0-4.

And they can't blame this one on some kid. Not that they should have blamed that other loss on one. (We've been over this.)


Paul said...

Here is an interesting stat. Last night's victory extends the Yankees streak to 36 consecutive post-season series without getting swept! The last time was the 1980 ALCS. (In the next 35 series, the Yankees are 23-12). Not only that, but in every best of 7 series since then, they've won at least 2 games. (So they haven't lost a postseason series by more than 2 games since 1980)

Uncle Mike said...

Please, don't remind me of 1980... I still hate the Royals.