Game 144: NYY vs. BAL — Showdown at the Yards

Much of the Eastern Seaboard was blessed with really amazing pre-Autumn weather today, including Baltimore and Camden Yards. With the Yankees in town, competing for that ever-elusive Wild Card spot, the Orioles took the first game of this 4-game series.

The Yankees turned to CC Sabathia for 115 pitches through 7.1 innings, and unlike some recent outings, Sabathia was able to really find a nice groove and pitch pretty well. The Yankees just weren’t giving him enough offensive support. Sabathia allowed 7 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Those 4 runs came as a sacrifice fly in the 1st, another sacrifice fly and RBI single in the 5th, and an RBI double in the 7th. The unearned run was the final one, as Sabathia made a throwing error on a force out, allowing the lead runner to advance (and later score). Adam Warren came on in the 8th and flawlessly got the final two outs in just 5 pitches.

Offensively, the Yankees were kept to just two runs of their own — both solo home runs by Alex Rodriguez in the 1st and Lyle Overbay in the 8th (also both balls landed within a few feet of each other in the right field seats). The pitcher for the Orioles was pretty evenly matched with Sabathia tonight, so with the biggest factor being the lack of power at the plate (especially in light of the ridiculous scores of this weekend against Boston), it was just going to be a matter of who got the most opportunities against the pitcher. Tonight, that fell to the Orioles with a score of 4-2

The most interesting thing about tonight was the lack of attendance. Camden Yards can host 45,971 fans, but today just 17,456 people came out for the game. This to me seems weird. The Yankees and Orioles are technically in their own kind of pre-play-off play-off race to best each other for the game, but they could only pull in 1/3 capacity. Maybe it’s the fan base in Baltimore. Maybe they’re more excited about football season now, or maybe the hubbub about the first football home game took precedence.

For those of you who don’t follow football, as Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens should be entitled to host their first regular season game at home, but they share a parking lot (like many professional stadiums do) with the Orioles and had to cede to the Orioles schedule as they were already set for the year. This apparently caused much ado in Baltimore, which is still predominantly a football town (and rightly so with their World Champions, seeing as last year’s baseball team was eliminated from October early on). Or maybe it’s just because it’s a really beautiful Monday night and anything in Baltimore sounded more fun than baseball. (No offense to any Marylanders, but Baltimore’s a weird city.)

Okay, maybe the most interesting thing was actually the ultimate showdown between the 1st and 2nd innings between Girardi and the Orioles manager Buck Showalter. I have to say that I have watched the clip a lot now, and tried to piece together what happened. From post-game interviews, it seems that Girardi accused the Orioles’ 3rd base coach of stealing signs, and that apparently cause Showalter to storm out of the dugout screaming at Girardi to stop talking to his guys. Girardi seemed more upset that Showalter didn’t see anything wrong with what is essentially cheating than the profanity-laced rage from the Orioles’ manager. The veteran umpire crew was able to keep both managers apart and send them to their respective corners to cool off. Nothing came much out of it, as Girardi usually lets things play out as they will once he’s said his piece and felt compelled to protect his guys, and Showalter just thought Girardi overstepped his boundaries.

Injury updates are numerous and can be found more concisely and with quotes on the Yankees’ beat reporter’s blog Bombers Beat. Updates include news on Jeter, Robertson, Logan, Stewart, and the Hughes/Huff pitching saga. Some good news, some not so good news, some news that hasn’t figured out what side of good it’s going to land.

Also interesting tidbit: on this date in Yankee history going back to 2000, the Yankees have won 10 games, 3 losses (including today’s), and had 2 days off (in 2002 and 2010). If this were a batting average, they’d be at .769 for every game on September 9th since 2000; this means they have a higher chance to win on this day than lose, no matter what the scoreboard may read today. In 2004, they had a doubleheader blowout against the Devil Rays, where they swept both games 10-5 and 9-1. All three of their losses have been away games — 2 at the Angels (2008 and 2011) and tonight’s against Baltimore (2013). It’s also been 6 home games and 7 away games in 14 years. Opponent (notice the heavy scheduling on the AL East): Boston 3 times (2000, 2001, 2005); Baltimore 3 times (2006, 2012, 2013); Tampa Bay technically 3 times (doubleheader 2004, 2009); LA twice (2008, 2011);  and once each Detroit (2003) and Kansas City (2007).

Now how do I know all of this? Because it’s my birthday. Thanks for the effort today, guys. Better luck next September 9th!

Go Yankees!

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