Yankees – Orioles split 4-game series
Four more games have passed and now the Yankees and Orioles will not play each other the rest of the season. Though intense, though a good showing with the return of the Orioles’ fanbase and though well played, this series turned out to mean nothing. The Yankees entered and left with a one game lead in the East and now 22 games remaining. The series and the season series both tied, 2-2 and 9-9 respectively. New York could have won all four games, the Orioles had a chance at three of them. Mark Teixeira reinjured himself and Nick Markakis is out for the season.
Just about the only thing that was different was now we know the Orioles are likely to stick around the rest of the year and neither team can impact the other directly anymore.
After the Orioles’ bullpen imploded in the series opener, the Yankees returned the favor the very next inning, losing the division lead by the end of the game. The next day New York recovered to light up Oriole pitching and rally behind a solid Phil Hughes start. Yesterday, CC Sabathia continued to be an average starter, blowing an early lead and giving the division lead right back for sharing. The Yankees very well could have won the game when they loaded the bases in the ninth inning down by a run. Instead, Mark Teixeira was wrongfully called out at first base to end the game with a double play. The game should have been tied with an option for the Bronx Bombers to pull out in front, but instead it ended with the Orioles on top.
Today was all New York. A 13-3 drubbing finished off the series.
The next six games may prove to be just as interesting as the past four. The Yankees head to Boston and return home to face the Rays, who are just two games in back of the division and one game behind the Orioles. The Red Sox are fresh off a sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays and are the worst team in the American League. They have imploded and embarrassed the franchise, but this could be the type of spark the team may need knowing it can play a large hand in spoiling the Yankees’ playoff chances. The struggling Sox play the three playoff contenders 16 more times before the season ends.
New York has fared much better against Tampa in New York so it figures to have the easiest schedule the next six games. The Rays play head to head against the O’s before facing the Yankees while Baltimore heads to Oakland after hosting the Rays.
On a positive note, Joba Chamberlain looked solid in two of his three outings, a marked improvement over his season to date. Curtis Granderson also looked to be recovering when he went 3-3 with two extra base hits including a home run and five RBI. If the Yankees look to finish strong, Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter may play the largest roles. New York has been exposed against lefties and A-Rod and Jeter are the two best right-handed bats. Granderson has been in an extended slump, has the ability to hit lefties well and will need to step up to compensate for the absence of Mark Teixeira.