… Still trying … OK. How about this? Are the pitchers really that good? I mean, Phil Hughes and Joe Saunders? Or are the Orioles and Yankees both flailing at the plate? I’m not complaining, mind you. A two-team power outage clearly favors the Birds. Curtis Granderson hit 43 homers this year. Forty-three! In this series, he’s completely clueless at the plate, swinging at every bouncing curveball in the tri-state area. I keep waiting for Robinson Cano or Mark Teixeira to turn into Reggie Jackson. But it hasn’t happened. Raul Ibanez has, but apparently he’s not starting material.
And the Orioles are equally lost on offense, save for Nate McLouth. Adam Jones and Chris Davis are in their worst slumps of the year. Neither is in any danger of putting the bat on the ball. Matt Wieters put the bat not only on the ball but on Joba Chamberlain. His broken-bat bloop to left might mean he’s climbing out of his funk.
The Yanks have fear in their eyes. First, Joe Girardi’s none too sure about his bullpen. Second, pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez? Two nights in a row? Sure, it worked Wednesday. Boy, did it work. And Eric Chavez, hitting for ARod, smoked a Jim Johnson fastball right at Manny Machado last night for the final out of the game. Does that mean Chavez starts tonight and ARod sits? It might. But pinch-hitting for your third baseman and having to tinker with your every-day lineup with the season on the line? And the entitled fans breathing down your neck? And a screaming media? Tonight, I’d rather be the Orioles.
That’s not to say I’m predicting an O’s win. I’m too superstitious for that. (says smitty as he taps his left foot twice, touches his nose, spits in the air and claps once. Jinx avoided.) But tonight – or, rather, late this afternoon, at seven minutes after 5 pm – two teams who have split their season’s 22-game series will square off head-to-head one last time. Baltimore will not be intimidated. They’ve demonstrated that they’re tough enough to stare down the $209 million behemoth. And New York is New York. They know how to win. But there are cracks in dam, for sure. It might hold, it might not.
That’s all I got.